Thursday, July 8, 2010


There's this thing. I call it Providence or sometimes divine providence. What I tend to mean by that phrase changes sometimes...but ordinarily what I mean is that thing that you cannot see or understand by reason alone. One has to be thinking with one's heart to "get it." But it's that unexplainable phenomenon where things just "fall into place." Whether it's coming upon someone who needs us, or someone we need or even finding a new's not explainable by logic.

Sometimes I think of providence as placing me in the right spot at the right moment to experience something big. Like for instance one of the families I have been involved in at juvenile court. I firmly believe that providence stuck me in the case for a reason. My understanding of the law, my expertise, my drive was needed for these children, and by what would seem to be happenstance I ended up being appointed their guardian. I had just the right knowledge of the law to be able to advocate for them very well. I believe God (however one might define him or her) knew what these children needed, and stuck me in the path for a reason. And the only way I would be as passionate as I am about their situation is because I have suffered some of what they have. I get it. From my own heart, I get it. I think God knows that despite the pain their stories bring me, there is healing for my own wounds there too.

Other times I think of providence as allowing me to meet the right people at the right time. Over a year ago I was sitting in my little church and was struck by the guy preaching on a Sunday. Turns out our lives have many parallels, and I've learned a lot by just talking with him about life, faith, relationships. What trajectory led to our meeting and then my persistence at figuring out how to contact him? I'm typically stand offish when I meet people. Certainly I don't just call them up and insert myself into their lives. Yet, that's precisely what I did in this situation. And I believe there was something bigger than me at work.

In another instance, I have known an attorney for years. But, from a distance, and not close-up. She and I, again seemingly randomly, have gotten to know each other in the past year or so. I've really come to enjoy her and love being around her. She's smart, interesting and a good person. She enhances my life in ways both clear and not always clear to me.

In yet another way, I stumbled upon the church family I now have come to love and appreciate. I was not really looking very hard when I happened upon the church. But something that is bigger and more gracious than I can be led me to the doors and provided an impetus to get me to walk through the door. I can't explain it any other way than providence.

While life seems random at times, and certainly I'm not pollyannaish enough to claim that I believe "everything happens for a reason" - I do have to believe that we receive gifts all the time, some we accept and others we reject. Perhaps the rejection is a deferral, I don't know. I do know when I'm open enough to accept the gifts and avoid trying too hard to discern from where/whom they came, they seem to fall from the sky continually. I know of no other way to describe those gifts as divine providence.

I was listening to a song the other day, and the songwriter said, "What is chance of that?" Really - what is the chance that these things would happen without the intervention of something greater and bigger and more loving than I can be? Whatever I choose to call it - I just pray to be open to the experiences.

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