We thank Cindy Stauffer, our guest devotional provider this morning.
I’m not sure what to call these encounters: God moments? Angels unaware? Divine intervention? Has it ever happened to you? A chance meeting that commands you to stop, listen and pay attention. Someone is trying to “tell you” something. The universe is tapping you on the shoulder.
My son was just a baby, ill with a high fever and a bad cough. We were away for the weekend in the wildness of northcentral Pennsylvania. The Roseville Pediatrics doctor we reached told us to get our son to the nearest hospital. Off my husband and I went, speeding through dark forests, down twisting roads, to arrive at a tiny hospital in St. Marys. I paced up and down with my son in my arms in the emergency room waiting area, practically hyperventilating, tears in my eyes, willing the clerk to call our name so a doctor could help my son.
A white-haired man in red sweatshirt approached me and asked what was wrong. “My son is sick!” I said. “I need to get him into the doctor.” The man leaned over, peered at the baby and then at me. “Just think,” he said, “how your parents worried about you when you were that age. Everything will be OK.”
I stopped my fretting and watched him walk away, as I thought of my own dear, departed dad, also white-haired, who had walked the floor with me when I was a baby, survived my teenage years, driven me back and forth to college, moved me in and out of apartments and walked me down the aisle, but sadly had not lived long enough to see this baby I now held in my own arms. The message: Have faith, hold on, you are not alone.
My now grown son calls me on a weekday at lunch. He is in the parking lot of a Food Lion supermarket in the Virginia town where he lives, 300 miles from home. He had locked his keys in his truck, and had spent a few anxious moments threading a windshield wiper blade through a partially open window to press the unlock button. As he was going through these maneuvers, a white-haired man approached him and chatted with him. The two discovered they both were welders at the Naval shipyard – my son just getting started with his career and life there, the white-haired man retired, his career behind him. The two said their goodbyes. As the older man got to his car he turned, looked at the younger man and said, “Man, those 30 years went by fast.”
My son, who has struggled with some homesickness and adjustment after moving from home at the age of 21, said the rather ordinary encounter felt somehow remarkable, like someone was telling him to pay attention. The message: Slow down and savor your life. Be present, in the both the struggles and the successes it brings you.
May we learn to recognize that “still, small voice” that often comes to us from other caring people. God can speak to us in many ways. We are not alone. We should hope. And we should cherish this wonderful, crazy, challenging life he has given us, each and every day.