I certainly can't take credit for the term "Godwinks", as SQuire Rushnell has written several books on this topic, but I can say for certain that I am eternally grateful for all the Godwinks in my life. Wait, you don't know what one is? Well, I am more than happy to enlighten you. Many people talk about coincidences, like, "I was just thinking about Sheryl when I happened to see her in the grocery store." Coincidence? Not likely----it was probably a Godwink, and there was likely some reason you were supposed to see Sheryl on Aisle 4. We pass a lot of things off to coincidence, when in reality, I think God is constantly putting people, things, opportunities, incidents (either positive or negative) in our path in an effort to tap us on the shoulder.
On Mother's Day, of all days, I am reminded of one of the most touching Godwinks I have ever encountered. It was during the wee hours of the morning after Mother had passed away in her rental house in July of 2005. K.C. (our first Lab) had been there with me, staying with Mother, as the inevitable was nearing. K.C. would diligently get up with me every hour or so that night to go check to see if Mother was still breathing. At 12:01, I woke up, K.C. and I did the bleary-eyed walk out to Mother's daybed where I saw that her chest was not rising and falling any longer. I called Dave immediately, and he came over to help me get folks over to the house to take care of things. The coroner had come to take her frail body away, and Dave was headed back home in one car with the dogs, and I was headed back home in my car. As I turned on my car, the song "Held" by Natalie Grant was just beginning to play. I had never heard the song before, but I have sung it in church many times since. The premise is that no one promised us that we'd be rescued from trauma or troubled times, but the promise remains that no matter what, we'd be held. I needed that so much that night; maybe you need it now (just click on the link above and you can hear what made me know this was exactly what I needed just when I needed it). Some call these "just in time" moments. For me, God was winking at me saying, "I gotcha". Well, He probably was saying, "I have you", as He likely has better grammar than what I just used. Who knows?
In 2009, Dave and I were living in Florida, and we were perfectly happy there. I was a principal; he was working at Eglin Air Force Base. There was a bit of talk of the possibility of us moving to Tucson at some point, so I looked at a principal position at a school district in Tucson. Apparently, the parents and staff told the Assistant Superintendent that they loved me and they wanted me to to come for a 2nd interview. Suffice it to say, I was told later that they already had an assistant principal who was "promised" the job. "Why did they even have me come out to Tucson?" I wanted to scream But Dave and I realized that my time as principal in Florida wasn't done, and at the same time, I heard about an opportunity to get my doctorate at the University of West Florida with a cohort. Had I gotten that job in Tucson, I likely would have never gotten my doctorate, quite honestly. Closed door that turns into an open door somewhere else? Maybe you can write it off as that simple, but I believe it was a true Godwink. I met and stay networked with so many of my fellow members of my cohort who got their doctorates at the same time. What an amazing opportunity!!
Fast forward to 2012 when Dave and I really did make the commitment to move to Tucson. I had resigned from being the principal at the best elementary school in the world, and I was wondering what the future would hold for me once we moved to Tucson. I knew I could likely find a job as a principal/administrator in the Tucson area, but I was thinking I wanted to try something different. Charlotte Danielson, whose Framework for Teaching we had been using in our Florida district to observe, evaluate and coach teachers, just happened to be coming to Okaloosa County to speak to the administrators (remember: I wasn't one anymore, as I had resigned), but I heard she was coming. Dave and I had sold our house already but weren't moving to Tucson until November, so we had rented a house right on the beach for the month of October (as an aside: the dogs were absolutely in Heaven!). I may or may not have "stalked" Charlotte a bit and found out her email address, which is when I found out she was coming to our area. I told her I'd love to speak with her if she had any need/interest in gaining any more educational consultants. When I asked where she was staying so we could find a mutually agreeable space to meet, she told me she was staying in the hotel that was literally right next door to the house on the beach that we were renting. It wasn't five houses down; it wasn't down the street. It was NEXT DOOR. Godwink? I think so. Even more Godwink-y (my own term, thanks) was when we hit it off, and she asked if I wanted to join the select group of international consultants who worked with educators all over the world to help teachers grow in their own reflective practice. I still do that work today. In fact, I am leaving tomorrow morning to go teach in a school district in Wyoming. When I asked what town it was in, Dave was Googling it to see where I would fly in. The first thing he saw is that it is about 30 miles from where my best friend/roommate from college lives. Folks, I can't make this stuff up. In fact, the closest Hilton property to the school where I will be is actually in Robin's town! CRAZY Godwink. Yes, we are having a slumber party, just like we did for three years in college every night.
The funny thing about Godwinks is that if we aren't paying attention, they will sometimes elude us (at least they do me). If I am all caught up in the worrisome trappings of this world, I might miss the beautifully brilliant red cardinal that is sitting on the branch of the oak tree in our backyard because I am so frenetically trying to get ready to travel for work this week. I might get so upset about not getting a job for which I thought I was perfectly well-suited (and it for me) that I miss that another former colleague is working with an entity that is doing work that I am extremely passionate about.
What does all this mean? It means I need to pay better attention, be alert to new possibilities, and be thankful when I can see a closed door as simply a chance to be open to another possible open door later down the road.
What is one of your favorite Godwinks? Please share! I love hearing other peoples' stories!!