I honestly believe there is no such thing as a coincidence. For me, in my own faith, I have come to believe in God-winks. Squire Rushnell has written several books on the topic, which in essence is a tap on the shoulder from God saying, "Helloooo....I'm here. Pay attention." Sometimes it is something as simple as seeing the beauty and majesty of nature that is present, and we simply remain open to observation. Sometimes it is something much more meaningful to us.
One of the first times I remember experiencing one of the life-changing Godwinks in my life was when I was pretty sure, since alcoholism runs in my family (on both sides, by the way), I should quit drinking, but I just hadn't been able to make the leap that said, "Hey, wait a minute----does that mean I won't be able to celebrate at weddings with a glass (or two or three) of champagne?" or "What does one do on a cruise if the alcohol factor is taken away?". Despite those questions seeming way too important to me, I still wasn't quite sure I should join the throngs of people who become sober, despite not having lost a house, car, job, or spouse. I asked God to give me some answers on the subject, and the next day, as I was driving, I heard a song I had never heard before. It was Kenny Chesney's "I've Been There; That's Why I'm Here", which is unequivocally about a man who goes to his first AA meeting. Coincidence? I think not. Soon after, I made what I consider to be one of the most life-changing decisions ever. I've never, since then, even thought seriously about missing alcohol in my life but I sure have often thought about what being in a program that teaches me serenity on a daily basis has done to alter my life over the last almost-25-years....all because of a tap on my shoulder by God talking to me through a country song. But I had to be willing to listen. Therein lies the rub with Godwinks, in my humble opinion. They are experiences that, gone unnoticed or ignored, could be written off as mere coincidence (or worse, yet, pointedly exclaiming, "I'm certain that wasn't the 'sign' I was looking for", which (for me) is likely a bit of a slap in the face to God.
Another major Godwink came to me on the night my sweet and quirky mother passed away in July of 2005. Dave's and my first Lab, K.C., and I had spent the night at Mother's house as she was nearing the end of her time here on earth. K.C. and I would come out into the sunroom where Mother was resting peacefully (and had likely been unconscious that entire day and evening) every 30 minutes to an hour to check on her. Each time we'd come check on her, I would see her chest rise and fall, so K.C. and I would traipse back to the bedroom and get a few more minutes of sleep. Right after midnight, K.C. woke me up, and I thought she needed to go outside to go potty. She walked right into where Mother was lying on the daybed, and I could immediately see that Mother's chest was no longer rising and falling. I called Dave, and he came right over; we had Hospice come and they called the coroner, etc. About three hours later, after Mother's frail little body had been carried away, Dave got in his vehicle to drive home, and I got in my car to drive home. The moment I turned on the car, a song I had never heard before began playing. It was Natalie Grant singing the song "Held", whose lyrics (in part) say:
Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens to us who have died to live
This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell, we'd be held
Did I mention I had never heard the song before? And yet, this song was precisely what I needed to hear at that exact moment. Coincidence? I think not. TOTAL Godwink.
Fast forward to my dear friend, Kelly, who passed away in late December and whose life we "celebrated" three weeks ago. Since then, I have found myself talking to her ashes (her middle child very thoughtfully put some ashes in several tiny vials so we could have a piece of Kelly---crazy how we were supposed to be there to be of emotional support to these three "kids" of hers and Tavey blessed us with a piece of Kelly to keep with us) every morning after my morning prayers. So many times in the last three weeks, I have been thinking of these beautiful young people who lost their mom and are learning to navigate what it means to be in your early 20s and losing your mom. Three times, I have texted Hayden (the oldest of the three) to tell her a memory of her mom or that I was just curious how she was doing. Each and every time,, Hayden has immediately called me (in tears, which means I am then in tears, too) to ask how in the world I knew she needed to talk just then. My answer, "...because I needed to talk to you just then". Coincidence? I think not.
I am eternally grateful for the ability to be a bit more cognizant of Godwinks when they show up in my life today and seeing them for what they truly are---NOT coincidences but taps on the shoulder to pay attention, listen, and be aware.
What are some of those times for you when you know you are experiencing a power greater than yourself?
I'd love to hear yours. Who knows? It might just be exactly what I needed to hear right when I needed to hear it.