Coincedence? I think not.
November 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
How often to we step back and take a look at our lives from the outside? I’d say, for most of us, probably not often. But when we do, we’re able to find so much more to be thankful for than when you’re totally emersed in your normal day. For example, its easy for me to take my family for granted. But, when I look at my family through the eyes of a distant observer, I see one of the most loving, open, faithful, hysterical, witty groups of people I’ve ever laid eyes on. Then I realize that countless people have nothing close to this. I have a mom who calls everyday, a sister I text constantly, a dad who just randomly calls to tell me that he remembers the best hug he ever got and it was from me, and a brother who once buried my dog for me after she got hit by a car just so that I wouldn’t have to see her dead. Seriously, how could I ever take this for granted?!
I think I also often take for granted the little ways God works day to day. The other day, on my drive home, I was thinking about this. I had decided that I really wanted to spend my 3 and a half-4 hour drive thinking, praying and singing some pretty awesome Christian tunes. I thought it sounded like a productive way to spend my time in the car, which I usually use to make phone calls and catch up with friends. I just decided I’d be catching up with a different friend this time. I started the drive by praying/singing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, then just drove and thought and put my iPod on the Genius mix Christian Rock (by the way, I love those Genius mixes…they’re, well, genius!). Along the way, I started thinking about a woman I used to work with when I aided at the high school with the “New Leaf” kids.
First of all, I stumbled into this job. I was substitute teaching, but one day, I got assigned to a class at the high school. This was a class of boys who had all done their time at the reform school, but somehow, they’d gotten second chances and did all of their school work from this one classroom in the high school. There were about 4 teachers and one aid in this room to tutor these boys. One had a social phobia, two were emotionally disturbed (I still don’t know what that means), and one had a laundry list of disabilities. In my one day there, the teachers had decided that one of the emotionally disturbed boys responded well to me, he had gotten in trouble at the high school the next day and sent back to the reform school, so they asked me to go with him and be his aid. Lets just say, it didn’t work out (that’s a longer story for a longer post). But, then the aid for the boy with the laundry list of problems needed back surgery so they asked me to be his aid. By the end of the semester, I was taking this kid out to dinner with Cody and another teacher, the boy who it didn’t work out at the reform school with had times when he’d ask me for advice and the kid with the social phobia went to class so long as I would walk him there. I can’t say I did it. It was really the other teachers who had put in so much time and effort, lots of prayer, and gentle nudges. Anything that happened in that classroom was a result of much more than a “coincidence” that I walked in that day. Something bigger was at play.
Along the way, I grew close to this amazing Catholic woman who worked in the class with me. About 6 months ago, I ran into her in College Station and she asked me about Cody. I informed her that he’d died and she hugged me, cried and asked questions. She gave me her card and asked me to call. I never did. A couple of months later, she called me, but I was working and forgot to call back. So, as I was thinking about her on the drive, I realized that would be a perfect time to call her and catch up. I broke my own rule about not calling anyone on the road and I’m so thankful that I did.
Immediately, she informed me that I was on her “adult children” prayer list because she said I’d always be like one of her children. I needed to hear that that day. She continued to fill me in on the boys and remind me that I might have had some part in their successes (one is even in college on a basketball scholarship!). She also told me that she knew that I’d be fine as soon as I told her about Cody. She’s a very very spiritual woman, very charismatic and said that she could always just tell that I radiated my faith. WOW. After all that time of me feeling like I’d been failing (and I had been…her words don’t change that), she was assuring me of God’s infinate mercy and forgiveness and love. I told her I’d felt like I just hadn’t been devoting the time to that relationship that I should have been and she said “Kelsi, don’t kid yourself. I heard once, on a retreat, that sometimes we’re so consumed with grief and healing that all our attention needs to be turned on that. God knows that. He knows what he gave you to deal with. You didn’t sideline him. You can’t help but make him your center.” Seriously woman?!?! Did she just receive a letter telling her to tell me everything I’d been needing to here. She went on to say “If God can forgive St. Augustine and so many saints talk about their dark dark places, then you know he’s already forgiven you.”
So why was this woman on my mind, on this particular day?? Why did I call her?? I don’t think it was a coincidence. I think I called her because God knew she could tell me what I needed to hear.
Just like I don’t think it was a coincidence that I ran into one of my best friend’s girlfriends on the one year anniversary that his brother had died last week. She said “oh my goodness..I’m so glad I ran into you! What do I do?!” She was in tears and just needed to know that her presence would be enough. I ran into her because God knew I could tell her what she needed to hear.
So, when I step outside my life a little, I see not only these wonderful things to be thankful for, but coincedences that really aren’t. Stepping outside and looking in lets us see the intricate web of occurances and how we’ve been able to affect others live and they have been able to affect ours. Step outside and see what you can see.