[This blog post was written the day it happened, Thursday 22 December 2016. I’ve debated whether this narrative should ever see the light of day. Many of my readers don’t know me from Adam, and so might be skeptical, not only of what I describe but of my interpretation of it. I have wrestled with this since the day it happened. But this morning, Monday, January 2, 2017, a casual conversation with a friend persuaded me to take a chance and post it. I would be very glad to hear your feedback. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send in a comment using the mechanism below.]
Isn’t it funny how things work sometimes? When you have experienced love, you know what it looks like, and you see signs of it here and there. I think the same thing is true about having faith in God. If you believe deep in your bones that God exists, without consciously thinking about it, signs of it will knock into you periodically. I’m not talking about human goodness, or warm fuzzy feelings, or Mister-Rogers-Neighborhood-sweetness. I’m talking about stuff that stops you in your tracks – that shouts Whoa!
That is what happened today. What I describe may sound crazy. Despite all, I hope that you will read this and extend a serious listen. The fact that I am writing about it may strike you as out of proportion to what I describe. But I can only say, in my defense, that it was very much an out of the ordinary experience for me. So much so that I felt the need to write it down as soon as I got home, while it was still fresh in my mind.
Today was my last day at my present job. It was a decent day. My spirits were light, people were sweet and thoughtful, I received some unusually kind notes from some surprising people. I got one hand crushing handshake and quite a few hugs. In my car after work, I noticed two things. First, the car’s gas gauge was on empty. Second, the sky looked very threatening. There were thick dark clouds and the weather looked pretty well socked in. I called home to let my husband know I was on my way and discovered a gas station about three blocks from work and got half a tank of gas. Then I started home.
Let me back up a bit. I like listening to music on my way home from work, but because I have a limited tolerance for ads, I often listen to CDs. About 18 months ago I found a song on a collection an old friend had made for me. I don’t know who was singing it, but it was some guy, and he was singing a song called “My Baby Just Cares For Me.” I really liked the song, and discovered on YouTube, Nina Simone singing it – the words were all different – a guy version and a gal version – but I liked them both. After a few weeks, I realized that I couldn’t remember the name of the song or either of the singers’ names. What’s more, I couldn’t find the doggone CD anymore. I don’t know exactly why I pursued it so, but I really wanted to find it and went on a tear, looking for it. I mean, I was a little crazed about it. It was a fun song, I liked it, and I became a tad unhinged when I couldn’t even remember the name of it. In time I worked systematically through all of the possible CDs looking for the song and could never find it. That was then. Back to today.
This morning when I left for work, I grabbed two CDs off the shelf. Tonight after leaving work for the last time, just after I got gas, I started listening to one. Good music but nothing particular sounded familiar. Clearly, I hadn’t listened to this for ages. I drove across town on the highway and then I heard the song that I had liked 18 months before. I couldn’t believe it. I had just grabbed this CD without looking at it. I played the song a couple more times. There was no mistaking it. I got off the highway and was heading south on the road to my house. The sky was blacker than black. The clouds were thick and low and threatening. The look of them was the same in every single direction. Very ominous dark storm clouds. The road south to my house is horrible. Potholes on the side of the road that drop down 18 inches. Occasionally a hole in the middle of the road where water washed out part of it. It is a dangerous road to ride on in the rain. Especially when you can’t see the running flood waters before you hit them. I really wanted to get home before the rains came. The clouds were hovering dark and low on the mountains. I hit the back button and listened to the song a fourth time. Then it happened.
I was moved to say thank you. I exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus!” Not something I usually do when listening to music. And remember, this wasn’t some religious song — this was just a fun love song. However, the result blew me away.
The words were said out loud. At that precise moment, not a few minutes later, or something. Are you paying attention to me? A nanosecond after I exclaimed, “Thank you Jesus” two things happened. The black clouds parted, and this dazzling ray of sunshine came down and lit up the car and the area right in front of me. It was light all of the rest of the way home. For miles. Weird. Scary weird.
I’m not a superstitious person; I’m not a touchy-feely-me-and-Jesus person. I believe in God, and I see evidence of the presence of God around me, just like I see goodness, kindness, and love. But this wasn’t wishful thinking or if-you-make-up-a-good-enough-story-you’ll-win converts-for-Jesus kind of thing. I’m not that sort of person.
It just happened. I wasn’t looking for the song. I was just intent on getting home as it was my last day of work, I was tired, and the sky looked threatening. Then I received an unexpected pleasure, hearing the song I liked and had looked for without success. Then I said “Thank you, Jesus,” and like a thunder-clap, the dark clouds opened up and the sun came pouring onto my car and the path ahead of me.
I can’t say why it happened, but I do believe I know by whose hand it happened.