There are no coincidences around here

Sometimes things unfold in just the perfect way, with connections made between seemingly unrelated events: there’s no other way to explain it except to acknowledge that God has put it all together, and even made some small good come out of something that started out bad.

Here’s the story.

I spent some time this weekend at an event where it became increasingly clear throughout the day that the only people welcome and the only ones whose voices would be heard were the ones who espoused a politically correct point of view (one I do not share.) Such an attitude was patently out of place, given the kind of event it was. The implicit message that I did not belong at that event because of my views was very upsetting to me.

Afterward, I reached out to a few trusted friends to ask about how I should respond to what happened. It’s certainly not an event I intend to revisit, but it’s one I’m expected to attend. Slowly, a plan began to take shape, and I felt peace about that.

On Sunday, I saw one of our deacons at Mass; he’d missed daily Mass all week (very uncharacteristic for him) so I asked if he was OK. He replied that he’d been suffering from a back problem. I figured he must have been in considerable pain, and wished him well.

Yesterday that same deacon was back at daily Mass. He normally proclaims the Gospel rather slowly and very clearly. But he was reading more slowly than usual, and it seemed like he was slurring his words a bit. (I figured he might be taking a new pain medication, and hoped he wasn’t driving if he wasn’t used to it yet.)

At the end of Mass, he couldn’t get up the aisle to leave the church without assistance. Again, I figured it must have been his back injury. Since he had a few people helping him, I continued on my way.

One of the friends whom I’d been in touch with about the weekend stopped me on my way out the door to talk about what had happened. We chatted for about ten minutes, then noticed that there was an ambulance at the other door, figured it was for the deacon, and went back into the church.

Our pastor said that the deacon’s blood sugar was very low, and that he’d eaten a candy bar and had some water.

“Candy bars are no good,” I replied. “The fat in the candy makes it slow to absorb. He needs juice first. I have some in the car.”

(Have teen with diabetes, will travel. I keep a lunchbox in my car, filled with a juice box, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, and fruit rollups or Smarties. Emergency sugar, with and without fat.)

I ran to the car and got the lunchbox, and gave the Capri Sun that was inside to the EMTs. Then we all waited some more. When the EMTs came out of the sacristy looking for milk or peanut butter, I handed them the whole lunchbox so they could take what the deacon needed. Finally, they decided he was OK to go home (with someone else driving).

The rest of us all continued on our way.

This doesn’t make what I went through over the weekend any better, but there is comfort that something good — even something little — came out of it.

PSA, since it’s National Diabetes Awareness Month:

Signs of low blood sugar

TL; DR: if I hadn’t had that bad experience over the weekend, I wouldn’t have been around Monday to help.

… all things work for good for those who love God. (Romans 8:28)


Copyright 2018 Barb Szyszkiewicz

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There Are No Coincidences, Even On Vacation

Last week my family and I went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC, where this was the view from my office, located on the 19th-floor balcony of a high-rise hotel:

View from My Office 08 2015c

I could sit and look at that all day. And a lot of the time, I did exactly that.

We arrived late Saturday evening and after unpacking, got set to find a church for Mass the next morning. It made sense to go to the closest one after spending many more hours in the car than we’d planned (traffic on I-95 in Virginia was terribly slow. For hundreds of miles.)

After Mass, we were handed a bulletin on the way out, and I idly scanned it on our way back from church. That’s when I saw a familiar name in the list of announced Masses for Monday morning.

The Mass was for one of my great-aunts. She had moved to Myrtle Beach a few years ago to be near her only daughter.

She’d passed away the year before at the age of ninety-something, predeceased by her husband and daughter. Another¬†aunt (my mom’s sister) had made a few trips to SC during Aunt Marge’s final illness to help arrange things, so I texted my cousin to tell her about finding Aunt Marge’s name in the bulletin. My cousin said that one of the parish priests was faithful in visiting Aunt Marge in the nursing home, praying with her and giving her the Sacrament of the Sick.¬†After Aunt Marge’s death, my mom’s sister sent a donation to the parish in gratitude. She received a note of thanks that stated that the priest had dedicated that donation to several Masses for the repose of Aunt Marge’s soul.

Hubs and I made sure to get up early the next day so we could attend that Mass for Aunt Marge.

What are the odds that we’d have chosen that vacation destination, putting us closest to that church, during that very week? We couldn’t have planned it better if we’d tried.

Good thing we weren’t the ones with the plan.