Ordinarily, I wouldn't have been walking up Broadway past 106th street, but the #1 train dumped us all out at 96th and we were on our own. So it was just one of those remarkable things to meet the very bereaved friend I've been meaning to call, heading downtown as I was walking up. And another remarkable thing that we each had a half hour to spare. And that we were standing right in front of a coffee shop. The weather was balmy for New York in late November; we had our coffee and our talk at an outside table.
God is very good, I said to myself as I continued uptown after we had paid the bill. The chance for an important talk walked right by me on the sidewalk. All I had to do was look up, and there it was.
There are no coincidences, people in AA say. They say it all the time. Had not this happened, and this, and this, in just this way, I would have missed a great gift. Not have met a lovely new friend. Wouldn't have gotten this job. Wouldn't have been there to take a friend to a meeting when he was in danger of slipping back into the living death of his drinking. People in recovery learn to think this way because they each have a story of something or someone without which they would never have gotten free from the deadly demon of their addiction. Something happened in my life, and if it hadn't happened, I might not be here. Some even say they thank God for the very fact of their being alcoholics -- on their own, they never would have discovered the peace and gratitude that living according to the twelve steps has brought them.
So: does God make plans like that, flow charts of this and this and then this, things that must occur in order for a certain good to be born in the world? Do we get cancer in order that we might learn to be grateful for our families? Does your house burn to the ground in order that you might learn that material goods aren't everything in life? Is it really true that there are no coincidences?
Rather, something else is true: we are joined, all of us. We are related. We children of God communicate, with God and with each other, all the time, whether we know it or not. And God communicates with us by meaning things for us. God gives meaning to the random events of life, endows them with usefulness to our spirits. God has ways for the good to be born, many paths by which life can emerge from the very jaws of death, many ways for genuine sorrow to become the seedbed of genuine joy. God's plan is not necessarily a plan like our plans, dating from before an event occurs. God isn't contained by time, as we are. God's plan infuses the world with meaning at all points along the continuum of time, from beginning to end, not just at one point. God is always ready to communicate meaning to us.
And we begin to see it when we are ready.
Check our the new chat room! From Dec.1st to the 3rd I will be in San Antonio TX for a mission at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. On Friday, Dec. 1st from 3:00-4:30 p.m. CST (4:00-5:30pm EST) I'll be visiting the wonderful people at VivaBooks - our Geranium Farm book distributor. I, or someone assisting me, will be in the chat room during that time if you would like to ask me questions and perhaps request a personalized, signed copy of one of my books. Hope you can visit the chat room then! http://www.geraniumfarm.org/gfchatcfm.cfm