Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Angels and Divine Gifts

The concept of moving is exciting, but the physical act of doing so is stressful, chaotic, exhausting, and at times, even painful, as my muscles get workouts they haven't had in months.  I have lists of what to take, what needs to be done, what has already been done, who still needs to be called, and who not to bother to call.  I've stuck post it notes reading 'Empty' on the cupboards and closets that are, because with so much on my mind these days, and only so much that my brain can hold on to at any one time, I find myself forgetting what's been packed and what hasn't.  So it's much easier just to look at the notes!  And when the exhaustion and emotional ups and downs begin to cause a lag in my spirits and my enthusiasm, I've taken to reviewing all the different ways God has shown me She is taking care of me, and then it isn't long before I'm filled with energy and my positive mood has returned.  In just one day alone, She brought two angels to my rescue! 

A couple of weeks ago I realized I was running out of packing tape. ( I like the paper kind that I can tear with my hands and that isn't as likely to get stuck to itself between the time I cut it and the time I can get it in place on the box, which is what usually happens with that clear cellophane stuff.)  I also needed a couple more boxes for my big pictures and I had a load of items to take to St. Vincent DePaul Society for donation.  I remembered there was a store on my way to drop off the donations that carried moving supplies, so I decided to make one trip do double duty and headed out to do what I needed to do.

Although the moving supply store was on my way to drop off the donations, my car was too full to hold anything more.  I decided to stop anyway and at least see if they had what I needed, and then I'd come back once my car was empty.  They had the boxes but not the tape that I wanted. The lady behind the counter didn't even know about the paper tape, but when I described it to her, she said it sounded like a great idea.  I left the store, telling her I'd be back as soon as I emptied my car, and she reminded me that the store closed at 2. 

Once I dropped off the donations, I thought about making a quick trip to the U-Haul place out on Rt. 51 to see if they had the tape, and even considered that the boxes I needed might be cheaper there, if they had them. However, it was Saturday, there was a lot of traffic, and I was concerned that I might not be able to get back in time to get the boxes at the original store if the U-Haul place didn't have them. So I went back to get the boxes, wishing I had a way of knowing whether the U-Haul place even had the tape I was looking for, because if it didn't, I'd waste a lot of time for nothing.

I got my boxes, and Mary Ann, the woman behind the counter, asked what I was going to do about the packing tape. I told her I'd probably go out to the other store to see if they had it. As I waited for her to ring up my purchase, she began typing something into the computer, and before ringing up my sale, she picked up the phone and began to dial.  I couldn't figure out what she was doing, and was actually beginning to get irritated that she was making a call instead of finishing up with me.  And then she began to speak into the phone, and I realized she was talking to someone at the U-Haul store and asking them about the tape that I wanted!

When she got off the phone she told me she had called a U-Haul store that was in the local area to see if they had the tape, and to save me some drive time, but they were out.  She then looked up the number for the store on Rt. 51 and made another call.  They had my tape!  What a nice thing for her to do - and without even being asked!  I thanked her and told her she was my angel for today.  And then I added that I was sure God would do something nice for her because she had been so nice to me.  She just laughed and shook her head and said it didn't seem to work that way for her.  I said maybe she just didn't recognize that God was doing something nice for her, because it didn't happen right away, or because it wasn't something she would normally give God credit for.  She stopped laughing, paused for a moment, and then said, "Maybe you're right."  I encouraged her to keep that in mind as the day went on and just see what happened.

I don't know what happened to Mary Ann after I left, but I can tell you that God gave me a really good example a bit later on, of what I meant when I suggested to Mary Ann that sometimes God doesn't work in the way that we might expect.  My next stop was the U-Haul store that Mary Ann had called, and that's where the second angel showed up, albeit an angry one!

As I walked into the store to make my purchase, there was a man standing at the counter.  His loud voice and strident tone quickly caught my attention, and as I waited to be checked out, I couldn't miss hearing what he was saying.  Apparently he had reserved a U-Haul truck online and had come to the store expecting to pick it up.  Much to his chagrin, his truck wasn't there!  It was in Monroeville, about 20 miles away! 

It turns out that when you rent a truck online and tell them where you would like to pick it up, that pick-up spot is only your 'preference' in many cases, and not the actual spot where you will finally get your truck.  The information on the website tells you that someone will contact you 24 hours prior to your pick-up date and let you know where you will actually have to go to get your truck.  Apparently they had emailed this gentleman, but the note in the system stated that the email had been returned and he had never gotten the notice.  He was livid!

I bought my tape, checked out and left the store before the gentleman ever resolved his issue, but having heard what happened to him, and knowing that I had also rented a U-Haul online and stated where I wanted to pick it up, I decided I'd better follow up.  Sure enough, when I went to the location I'd chosen and asked about it, the man told me that my truck would definitely NOT be at that location.  He didn't know where it would be, but he gave me a local number to call the day before I was to pick up my truck so I could check it out, in case no one from the company contacted me. 

I felt sorry for the guy whose truck wasn't where he wanted it to be, but I was so grateful that God had put that angry angel in my path so that I wouldn't have the same experience when I went to pick up my truck.  You better believe I let God know that I'd recognized Her assistance and offered up a silent "Thank You!" as I left the store.

Years ago I never would have considered that angry man an angel. ( I probably wouldn't have described Mary Ann as an angel then either. It just wasn't my way of viewing the world back then.)  I would just have considered it good luck that I was there to overhear his conversation.  But I don't believe in luck anymore, or coincidences.  I believe in synchronicities and that everything happens for a reason; everything is a gift from the Divine.  And as long as I have that attitude, God shows me in innumerable ways that She is taking care of me.  Don't misunderstand what I'm saying.  If I didn't have that attitude God would still be taking care of me in the same ways, I just wouldn't recognize it.

So that parking spot that just opened up when I most needed it and least expected  it, or all those green lights ( and no red ones!) when I was running late for that important meeting and still managed to make it on time?  Luck or divine gifts?  Which do you think I choose?

Last week I had four vases that I needed to pack.  Most of my packing boxes are of the liquor store variety: sturdy, lidded, and best of all - free!  The disadvantages are that most are rectangular in shape and fairly small, and have dividers that accommodate six, nine, or twelve bottles. So as I looked at the vases and perused my stock of boxes, I said to myself, "God, what am I going to put these in?" ( And I wasn't being prayerful as I said it, if you know what I mean.) But as I said the words in my head, my hand reached out, without conscious thought, and picked up a box out of the middle of the pile on my living room floor.  As I opened it, I noticed that instead of being rectangular it was square, and as I looked inside I saw that the box was divided into four equal openings, each one the perfect size for one of my vases!  I began to laugh so hard that I was crying, and my sides were hurting.  Because in my head I was saying, "God ( prayerfully this time!) you even gave me the perfect box!" 

Okay, call me silly, call me stupid, call me anything you want because I saw that box as a Divine gift. (Out of all the boxes I've gotten from the state store for this move, that was the only one that was square and divided into four!) But Albert Einstein once said, " There are two ways to live your life. One is that nothing is a miracle.  The other is, that everything is."  Call me crazy, but I'm going with everything! What about you?