Benedictine monk and author Br. David Steindl-Rast, one of S&P's Living Spiritual Teachers, has written extensively on the connections between surprise and God. Surprise wakes us from our brooding. It touches us in the brief gap between an experience and our interpretation -- a gap in which a "powerful intelligence that far surpasses thought takes hold of us. We can make our thinking a tool of this creative intelligence that constantly brings forth and sustains the world." So if Br. David needed to give a favorite name for God, that name would be Surprise!

Hope, he says, is our openness to this surprise. The future brings us the unimaginable. When we really come alive, meaning flows through our lives in a boundless, ever astonishing stream.