Divine Timing

A few days ago I had a fair amount of misfortune with buses. One of my lessons got out early, and if I had jogged to the bus stop I could have caught a bus that would have had me home by 8:30 rather than 9:05 — but I assumed I could not catch it. As it was I had miscalculated. Instead I passed the half-hour to the next bus in Half-Price Books, where I was able to purchase Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival” (which I have longed for), inform the clerk that the actress she was thinking of was Alyson Hannigan, and later on direct another passenger to the bus stop he needed. In short, my bad timing proved useful not only for me, but for two other people.

It’s not the first time the bus has taught me this lesson; on one occasion I missed my stop on the Route 44, got off later than usual, and immediately saw a homeless man panhandling outside Bartell’s; I had $5 in my pocket and I gave it to him, understanding that this was exactly why I had delayed getting off.

Accidental leadings, we might call them — not that they are leadings that happen by accident, sent by some absentminded Almighty, but leadings that take the form of seeming accidents, inconvenient for us but ultimately positive for others (or for ourselves as well).

So when we are hampered or inconvenienced or delayed, let us open ourselves to the possibilities that might flow from the delay. This is not to say we should bear abuse or injustice lightly; while good things can flow from our response to abuse, we should not, as some rather controlling faiths have advised, simply suffer in silence when we are willfully mistreated. But simple misfortune might actually prove to be great good fortune, if we bear the inconveniences and don’t let them frustrate us into rage.

“The One still controls random chance,” I said once — the chance meetings, the want of a horseshoe nail, the small flickers of fate that tug at us (and the whole world) in different directions than the ones we want to go in. Let’s remember, as we ad lib our lines and entrances on life’s strange stage, that there may well be a director behind the scenes and in the audience who has an idea about the pacing of the play.

3 thoughts on “Divine Timing

  1. Thanks for this post. I’ve been thinking along the same lines for some time – actually, I’ve thought along these lines for years! But I have to be reminded from time to time. A seeming delay or “missed opportunity” or denial often leads to something better. I’m in one of those delay times now, delayed from getting a job! But this time is teaching me all sorts of things about what sort of job I want, what I’m really led to do, what my passions are – and of course the infinite care of the One during this time.

    I love your stories related to the bus because I rode the buses in Seattle for nearly 7 years and I had many occasions for divine inspiration, divine action – or railing at the divine when I missed that bus! =)

  2. Reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from the book of Proverbs:

    “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (Prov 16:9)

    We set out with our own idea of how things will proceed… but even though we can influence the universe, we don’t control it. We don’t live to ourselves alone and are subject to the quasi-random encounters life faces us with every day.

    It’s the little things that we should pay attention to. If a sentence jumps out at us on page from a well known book, we should not dismiss it but ask ourselves why now it seems to catch our eye.

    The 2 minutes you have with the random people you bump into may make the difference between a brilliant day, an ok day or a terrible day.

    Heck a seemingly innocent remark may have a snowball effect that on another part of the Earth has a life or death consequence… we can never know the whole picture… we can only strive to do what’s right with the light given to us.

    BTW is that widget for related posts on other blogs just a wordpress thing or can you get it elsewhere. I think it would be a fantastic way to help build networking between blogs.


    N (or G)

  3. Update: after making the rookie mistake of getting on the right bus route, but going in the wrong direction, I eventually remembered to follow my own advice here. It took me at least 15 minutes.

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