With what eyes will you look at 2012?

Real Help for Real Living

Let me tell you a story about a stranger who saved our vacation with the simplest, but most unexpected, of gestures.

We were taking a bus tour to visit Brookgreen Gardens, near Myrtle Beach, S.C., last spring, and just as we arrived my wife’s flip-flop broke.

It rendered the flip-flop useless.  Since we arrived on a bus instead of taking our car, we couldn’t simply leave the garden and buy another one, and the gift shop didn’t sell flip-flops. So, we were going to be there for three hours, stuck sitting on a bench because of the broken sandal.

Desperate, we hobbled over to the welcome center to explain our dilemma to the greeter.  After listening, the woman took off her flip-flops and loaned them to my wife.  She told us just to return them to her before we boarded the bus.

We were shocked, surprised, flabbergasted (that’s not a word you hear every day) and overwhelmed by this woman’s generosity.  My wife and I had a great time during the next few hours enjoying the park and admiring the statues.  We went back to the welcome center to return the flip-flops and thank “our angel” for making a memorable experience for my wife and I.

I share this story as a reminder that how we see life, and the attitude that we bring with us, will ultimately determine our altitude.  If we think we are beaten, we are.  If we believe that there is hope, we will see the hand of God moving before us in ways we can’t explain.  Let me tell you another story.

Last April, I marked Executive Assistant Day on my calendar.  I wanted to be sure I remembered the day for my new executive assistant.  But as my life has often gone, I got busy and totally forgot the day.  Now let me add another twist to the story.  Normally, I work out at the Dowd Y before going to the rescue mission.  For some reason, I went to the gym over lunch and ran into a friend I often don’t see in my locker row.  We normally exchange polite pleasantries and talk about the mission.

That day, he didn’t bring up the mission.  Instead, he looked at me and said, “Do you know what day today is?” to which I replied, “No.”  When he told me it was Executive Assistant Day, I gasped in remembering I almost missed that important day for my assistant. Fortunately, I had the time to pick up a card.

Why would someone randomly bring up that it was Executive Assistant Day?

There is a scripture verse that says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”  I’ve learned there are no coincidences in life; there are holy coincidences.  Yet, in both of these stories, I had a choice.  I could shrug it off as just something that happened and move onto the next appointment on my calendar.

Instead, I’m still learning that because of God’s incredible love for you and me, He is constantly pursuing a love relationship with us.  Sometimes, he makes Himself aware to us through “holy coincidences.” We just have to look with eyes that are willing to see the hand of God moving in front of us.

When you put down this paper, clean your eyeglasses.  But don’t look at life with your eyes; rather see with your heart.

I’ll be back in two weeks.  Until then, live well, my friend.

The Rev. Tony Marciano is executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission, which provides a free, long-term Christian recovery program for men and women who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.

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