How many times have you heard people refer to events in their lives as a "coincidence"? I can say with perfect honesty that in the last several years, I have come to understand that there is no such thing as coincidence. As a matter of fact, just as I was typing this...and this is no kidding...I had a deja vu feeling. It was so strong that I went back and reread my previous posts just now to be sure I hadn't already made that same statement above in one of my other posts. Weird!
It's probably happened to you. You and whoever are talking about someone else or maybe you've been thinking about a friend you haven't seen for awhile and you've been wondering what they've been up to lately. You're at (insert your favorite restaurant, store, movie, etc.) and you just so happen to run into them or the phone rings and they say, "Hey, I've been thinking about you lately!" Do you start singing the Twilight Zone theme song in your head...nee nee nee nee, nee nee nee nee?
Let me explain what I mean and how this has shown up in my life recently. I'm a planner...yes, a BIG time planner. I like to know far in advance what I am doing, vacations especially, and I want to make sure that I forget nothing. I am a self proclaimed "anal control freak". There, I said it, and Dan would agree with me. For a long time now, I have wanted to go to Italy. Like my whole life. My great grandmother was born in Northern Italy, and beside loving to eat, I have had a fascination with traveling and experiencing other cultures. Last year, even before the 2008-09 school year was out, I had a trip to Italy all planned out. And I mean ALL planned out. I had already contacted places to stay and each villa or bed and breakfast was holding a tentative reservation for us and we wouldn't have to deposit until January. Heck, I had even checked out Italian CD's and was learning to speak Italian. All that was left was to reserve a car and plane tickets. I was holding off because the airfare was still more than I wanted to pay. Enter the month of November and a funny feeling in my gut. Even though I REALLY wanted to go on this trip, I got the sense that we should postpone and wait to go to Italy a different summer. Hmmmmmm. Have you made the connection yet? Call it what you will, but I am certain this was no coincidence.
Now this is not to say that we didn't have plans for the summer. Actually, we did. We were supposed to go to Mexico for a few weeks...and were holding non-refundable plane tickets. God bless Alaska Airlines. One call to reservations and a supervisor named James. As I began explaining our situation, without even finishing my story, he quickly said "Would you prefer me to refund these on the same card you used to purchase them?" Talk about unexpected and utterly wonderful!
Another "non-coincidence" was experienced just today. Angie and I finally got our pajama shopping day at the mall, after having to postpone last weekend. Let's just say I am going to have the cutest PJ's in all of Stanford Hospital...thanks, Angie! :) We were having lunch at the Nordstrom Cafe and ended up running into one her former students from one of the local high schools. He happens to only work there 2 days a week. Interesting that we ended up there on one of those two days?? After sharing Cayden's situation, he mentioned that his ultimate goal is to become a pastor. He is at a crossroads in his own life and is searching for clarity. I have no doubt that this young man will make a fine church leader one day. I had never met him before today, but sometimes you just get a sense about someone. He told the two of us that he will be praying for Cayden and our families...and that's one more person in God's Army praying for us.
I think about the many "what ifs" that bring me to this day. What if I had finished my teaching degree right away instead of going into the travel industry? What if I had stayed working for Alaska Airlines instead of going back to get my teaching degree? What if my mom hadn't encouraged me to go back to get my BA in Education (I was afraid I was too old...hard to believe I thought age 26 was too old)? What if I had gotten a teaching job in Olympia or Lacey instead of Lakewood? What if I was able to have gotten pregnant in my former marriage? What if I hadn't been teaching in a school that had joint professional development with Dan's school?
All of the significant events in my life have led me to exactly where I am now. God's plan is perfect and everything is as it should be. I trust that. Now, that's not to say that we don't have choices along the way that help direct us on our life journey. Some people live their life with the "why me" attitude, as if they are a victim of circumstance and everything around them is happening "to" them. We ALWAYS have a choice. Don't misunderstand what I am saying here. We don't necessarily get to choose whether or not a particular event happens in our lives, BUT we CAN choose how we perceive the situation. If we trust that there is a reason for everything, that there is something to learn from every challenge in our lives, then we realize there are no coincidences.