My husband fell down the steps today. And the plate (full, I might add) of spaghetti laden with garlic, tomatoes, basil, and oil that he had concocted 10 minutes earlier? It went flying. Flying. The plate shattered, the spaghetti flew, not just on the steps, but on the mail that was waiting on the steps and on the lamps shade that was on the table under the banister. And when my husband started to fall, I quickly got up (to ‘help’, of course!) and when I did, I dropped my coffee mug (full, I might add) and it spilled on the coffee table (appropriately named) and the rug.
The poor man bumped all the way down the stairs. He’s 6’3 and well over his college weight of 220, so, it was pretty dramatic, loud, and scary. And there sat my 18 year old son who jumped up to see if his dad was okay. No, he didn’t spill anything.
This all happened in a bout 2.2 seconds.
And do you know what’s significant about that? It was at 12:02…on a Sunday. And we should’ve been somewhere else at 12:02 on a Sunday. Definitely. And if we had been where we were supposed to be, well, I doubt that I would’ve had a very sore husband with spaghetti strewn all over carpeted steps and coffee seeping through the rug on the hardwood floors.
I’m not saying this happened because we didn’t go to church. I am saying that if we had been where we planned to be and probably should’ve been that it wouldn’t we wouldn’t have had all the consequences. This morning, I had a list of excuses as to why we didn’t go to church. The service had been changed to a half hour earlier and I had forgotten that and then when I remembered, instead of rallying the troups to get ready, I just gave in and decided we wouldn’t get there on time. We could have. That’s the honest, non-excuse answer. And the stomach that has been bothering me this morning? It’s been bothering me for a week and it didn’t stop me from getting to work on time. And the tiredness that I’ve been feeling? It’s been a result of choices of working and not resting enough. And wasting time. That’s the honest answer. And the honest answer is that I missed an opportunity for who knows what blessing because of excuses. And if we had been in the right place at the right time, we wouldn’t have been in the wrong place enduring spaghetti and coffee all over the place.
Being in the right place at the right time can change things in a big way. Ask Malcolm Butler, the Patriots player who caught the goal-line interception to win the Superbowl… Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference in the outcome of things not just for the short term, but for the long term. I’ve seen it in my own life, how just the right ‘chance’ meeting can make a difference in a life in huge ways. I saw it when a nurse ‘just happened’ to stop by the school in the same 5 minute time frame that my son had cardiac arrest. She and the school nurse ended up saving my son’s life. Period. And she just ‘happened’ to be in the right place at the right time. And then, at the hospital a few hours later? Who was there, but a nurse whose shift was over. Not just any nurse. This nurse had lost her 13 year old son a few weeks earlier to the same situation that my son was experiencing. The same thing. And she quickly directed them to get a polar suit,( a ‘suit’ which would help cool his body down to help stop the seizures) for him immediately. The other nurses later attested that that may have been the very thing that allowed our son to come out of the coma as the thinking, breathing, walking, laughing person that he was before he had cardiac arrest.
Yes, I believe that she was in the right place at the right time. She used her gifts to impact her world and, some may beg to differ, but I think the impact of her save had a greater impact than the well-reknowned catch that changed the outcome of the SuperBowl, for it saved a life! My son’s life to be exact.
And so, this is a confession of sorts. I should’ve pushed myself harder and been at church today. I’m not saying I would’ve saved a life, or won a championship or anything, but faithfulness matters. I will never know what opportunity could’ve been a blessing to me or my husband or others. And had I gone I most likely wouldn’t be using carpet cleaner for a few rounds this week, and my husband wouldn’t be so sore. (Thankfully, he’s okay….it could’ve been so much worse!)
Most importantly, this ‘series of unfortunate events’ made me rethink some things again. I can’t slack off. I want to be in the right place at the right time and that comes when I’m diligent and disciplined and responsive to the Holy Spirit. Excuses can fool some, even me sometimes. I had myself fully convinced this morning that the combination of feeling bad, running late, and fatigue of my family weren’t worth the effort to rush to be on time. But honestly, I know when it’s an excuse and when it’s a legitimate concern.Like I said, I’ll never know what opportunities were lost I won’t belabor it, but I surely want to relearn from this.
To be in God’s will, in the big picture, and in the little moments of the day, is a privilege. God has awesome things for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. He also uses the most difficult of circumstances at times. Sometimes He has us there to walk with people as they experience their greatest joys or deepest sorrows with others. Today was a reminder to me that His way is best. I want to live a simple life of following where He leads, not a life of appeasing myself or allowing myself to become lazy in areas of my life.
And…..just in case I need to be reminded of this again? All I have to do this week is smell the remnants of garlic in the semi-cleaned carpet and see the sore limp in my husband’s gait to reinforce the fact that I want to be where God wants me to be. Not just to avoid a ‘series of unfortunate events’, but to ensure that I don’t miss opportunities and open doors that the Lord has for me and those I love.