“Co-incidences” or “God Incidents?” (542 words)
Our journey west began with worship along the river at Queen Street United Church. Although the dawn had brought clouds and threat of rain, by 9:30 the sun was playing peek-a-boo with us. I asked the congregation to consider the “co-incidences” we experience as “God Incidents”, God’s action in our lives. For example: every Sunday morning of our rainy July, we had enjoyed a few hours of sunshine for our outdoor worship – a “co-incidence” or “God Incident”.
After receiving blessings for safe travel, Tom and I headed out. Traffic was reasonable. Our simple first leg of the journey into the welcoming arms of my sister in Sudbury ended by 4:30 – a great beginning!
Monday morning, at 7:30, we hugged Sharon goodbye. Tom drove for most of the next thirteen hours and I read General Council proposals. The border crossing at the Sault took more than an hour. We started our wait about halfway across the bridge. Usually the scenery just flashes by when we travel over huge bridges. This time our wait gave us opportunity to soak in the view.
For most of this day, we drove within a tunnel of trees. Sometimes the trees were scraggly, sometimes huge and robust, most were evergreen. As a child in Southwestern Ontario, trees were my friends. I soared in my swing that was suspended from their spreading branches. The ancient maples, that lined our driveway, gathered my sister and I into their arms as we climbed among them. I loved their strength. The trees of this tunnel felt different. They glowered over me. Instead of friendship and fun, I felt majesty and menace. .
The highway slashed the landscape, cutting through rocks, wandering around bends and marching across bogs. Occasionally, the tunnel opened to a farmer’s field, a town, or patches of the glistening blue water of Lake Superior.
Yet another construction area loomed in the distance. A flag lady, standing in the sun, leaned on her stop sign. We rolled down our windows and turned off the car, prepared for a long wait. Just a few yards from the road, in a beach parking area, a young family with a tiny baby returned to their car.
Always friendly and willing to talk, Tom stuck his head out the window and said to our flag lady, “Did you see the cute wee baby over there.” She turned her head to look. He added, “that sounded like a grandfather, didn’t it.”
She grinned and came over to the car. We talked a bit about grandchildren. She told us about her oldest granddaughter. “She’d be seventeen if she had lived,” she said.
“What happened?” Tom asked.
The story of the car accident poured forth. We listened. We offered our compassion and caring. It was just a moment’s conversation, and yet our souls had connected. Was this a “co-incidence” or a ”God-incident?”
At 7:30 we chose a tiny gas station in Sidnaw, to call ahead to our motel. Lacking a pay phone, he offered his own, no charge. Why did we choose this place? “Coincidence?”
Tonight, in Ironwood Michigan, as we snuggle down to sleep, I give thanks to God for surrounding us with blessings through people and places – God-Incidents. It’s been a good day.