Have you ever felt like the universe converged just to teach you a lesson or give you an experience you needed? Upon reflection, it might seem like everything came together for a particular reason. Sometimes they are good events and other times they are seemingly not so good events. It seems impossible though that anything could happen just for you given all the many people and moments on this planet that would have to converge. But then again, isn’t everything about us impossible. Isn’t it impossible that when we touch something hot an impulse is immediately sent to our brain and registers so fast that we pull our hand away before we can think? Impossible that by two years old most children have learned to walk, talk, read social cues, eat and in many cases, use their power of persuasion to get what they want, all without any formal education?
I’m going to go a different direction with this blog than I’ve gone before. I’m not sure what your religion is or what you believe, but I believe in a God of creation and love. I believe these two things are the most powerful forces in the universe and that our God, whoever that may be for you calls all of us to use these forces for good with gratitude, humility and giving. These are gifts for us to use to the fullest not for ourselves but to give through ourselves to others.
Let me share with you where this idea came from. For weeks, I have been listening to inspiring podcasts, videos, recordings and reading positive and inspirational works. I have been lamenting that I don’t know what direction to take my life or what I should do and that I need signs to be clear. Honestly, I was hoping I could just Google it and get an answer, but instead it appears to be unfolding slowly through tiny signs and signals. A week ago, on the way to dinner with my parents the car started acting funny. Since my husband was heading out of town, we booked an appointment on-line to drop it off the next morning and made plans for me to take him to his retreat an hour away. On the way home from dinner the car was fine, but we went with our plan anyway. The next day after dropping off the car, we headed to his retreat. As we stopped at a gas station, over the loudspeaker was playing a song, “Our God is a great God.” I smiled and thought ok, is that my sign, but didn’t think anything more. Driving home a sticker on the truck in front read, “Believe.” Over the week, I struggled to write one of the chapters in a book I’m working on. The word, believe, kept coming up in my head and I finally laid out an idea about teachers being miracle workers. The chapter came to me quickly and as I wrapped up the draft, my best friend called. I don’t talk to this friend a lot, but she has an uncanny way of calling just when I need it. She shared with me how she had a strange occurrence with her daughter who came and talked to her about some anxiety she was having, fearing death. My friend talked with her daughter about faith and how it helps her. She didn’t think much of it until she got a feed in her facebook with a speech by Tim Tebow talking about how he was inspired to wear John 3:16 under his eyes and how exactly 3 years after he first wore it he threw 316 yards, his yards per completion were 31.6, the ratings for the night we’re 31.6, and the time of possession was 31.06. During the game 91 million people googled John 3:16. Just a coincidence, right? Impossible. I shared with my friend my chapter idea and we talked about how important faith is in teaching and how you have to believe in your students. The chapter is done, something I had previously thought was impossible.
Fast forward through the week. All week I tried locating a boat trailer we needed to get our boat out of storage in Wisconsin, to no avail. Finally, my husband and I work out a complicated plan involving my parents watching our son who has play practice, our daughter missing school and staying with a friend in Minnesota, and a prayer we are able to avoid the predicted storm. Friday morning my husband and daughter leave early to get the trailer before the storm hits. I head out later in the afternoon to meet my husband back half way. As we are connecting about where we will meet, he gets a phone call and disconnects with me. He calls back with the news that the boat pick-up has been cancelled due to the weather. We quickly decide the best course of action is for him to turn around and stay there and for me to get there before the weather hits. He is able to connect with friends and find a place to stay. I manage to make it into town just as the worst of the storm hits. Bad luck that the boat pick-up was cancelled or good luck that we beat the storm and got to hang out with old friends and make it before the storm for another friends 50th birthday party on Saturday? I don’t know, but the truck I followed and guided me threw the heaviest of the storm and had a large sticker on the back with the words, “Amazing Potential.”
The last few weeks have been challenging. It’s been a year since we moved and while I’m making new friends and things are going relatively well with our adjustment, a part of me also misses our friends back home. Some strange opportunities have presented themselves and I can’t figure out if they are distractions or directions. There are things I love about our new home and things I miss about our old. I feel stuck in the middle. I love having my parents and family close, but I miss just being able to hang out on a random Friday night with friends or getting together for a celebration like a birthday. My daughter loves her new opportunities with horses, but misses her best friend. My son misses his friends, but also loves getting to spend time with his grandpa and grandma again. Somehow the universe converged to bring everything together. Ben got a weekend with his grandparents, Elena got a weekend with her best friend, and we got a weekend with friends. Did the universe conspire just for us? Impossible.
Whenever I look back on my life it seems the pieces have fallen together into some miraculous pattern that I never could have imagined if I designed it myself. So often I want to be in control of everything, but I’m pretty sure I’m not really in control of anything. All I can control is my ability to show up and be present and ready to take action when life presents opportunities. Many people are in positions right now where it probably feels as if the universe is against them and they are not able to see any good in their situation. I’ve been there too, and it’s a low that is challenging to overcome, but even those moments eventually pass and often some good can be found in them. I know my own years of infertility held some pretty dark days, but it also gave me the two most beautiful children in the world and I was able to complete my doctorate degree. Maybe the universe had a better plan.
This morning, I awoke in our friends’ guest room after a late night of catching up, to a blanket of snow. Even though I had a rare opportunity to sleep in, I felt these words nagging at my brain and an irresistible urge to write them down. I haven’t been able to think of a blog idea all week so I decided to see where this inspiration might lead. I crept downstairs and grabbed my computer and wrote as I watched the snow continue to fall. A predicted foot of snow in Minnesota on April 15. Yep, it’s April 15 and I’m watching the snow continue to fall and pile and can hear the plows already hard at work. Has the universe conspired to give me a weekend with friends, is it teaching me that there are things I miss but also things I don’t miss? Did I get to spend the morning cuddling with our old canine friend Gunner so I’m ready to embrace our new puppy? Are these words here for me or for someone else? Can the universe really be there just for me? Are we all connected in such intricate ways that the universe is simultaneously conspiring for all of us? Impossible….