I had a divine appointment today. A few times a year I make it a point to get away for a time of personal prayer and reflection. I usually have a plan for how to use that time away, on this mini retreat I was working on developing my Rule of Life. When I am on retreat like this I do everything I can so I am not disturbed, I try to keep my focus on hearing from God.
I got up on Wednesday morning and went to breakfast, my usual spot was crowded, and I was looking for a place to be anonymous so I kept driving. Ten miles later I found what I was looking for, a small Friendly’s with very few cars out front. On my way in I saw a woman sitting alone drinking Dunkin Donuts coffee. I remarked about her courage, bringing the “good stuff” into another restaurant. I was seated one booth away, in such a way that I could not help but see her. Pulling out my book I knew I was going to have to work at being alone with my thoughts in this place. As I read I could not escape the thought that I was to speak to her…“So, what brings you to this place this morning? My daughter, she is in a special school here in town. Where do you live? The Cape Wow, how far away is that? About two hours if the traffic is okay…where do you live? Springfield, out near six flags…why do you travel four hours four days a week to bring your daughter to school here? She is autistic and this is the best school in the area for her, it was either here or in NY. Oh, how long have you been traveling like this? Four years. Tell me about your daughter. Well, she has ausbergers; she is very high functioning and is very intelligent but has a hard time interacting with people…” Our conversation continued for over half an hour as she shared with me about her life, her struggles. She shared the pain of watching her daughter so desperately want to fit in and watching others keep her at arms length.
A divine appointment. Two people hours from the place they call home. Two people breaking from their routine; I give up on my favorite place for breakfast and her deciding to eat before going to the library until her daughter gets out of school. A special conversation, which helped shape the rest of my mini-retreat and has raised some hard questions about how we welcome people into our communities of faith.
I wonder how many divine appointments I miss when I am too focused, too busy with the appointments in my I-Paq that I miss the divine appointments that God has set for me.
Have you ever experienced a divine appointment?