Serendipity, Coincidence or Predestiny?
One Sunday evening earlier in the year, my then fiancé and I concluded a check in meeting with our wedding planner at Rituals Café, Heartland Plaza. As we exited the building, instead of going to the car as we planned, I noticed the outdoor lounging/dining area and decided that we should just sit outside for a while and enjoy the cool evening. Sometime afterward, while we were chatting and laughing, we noticed that a woman who had been sitting in her car for a short time, exited the car and took a seat at another table, about 6-8 feet away from us. Her headset was in her ear and my back was partially turned to her. We continued to chat for another 15 minutes or so before we decided to leave.
Just as I adjusted my stool to stand up, I heard the lady say “excuse me, can you …” I looked at her and my initial thought was “gosh, we were probably too loud and she is not happy”. However, before she could finish her sentence, she burst into heavy sobs and the tears began flowing down her face. I quickly took a seat next to her and even though I did not know what was wrong, I started to offer what little words of consolation I could possibly muster, oblivious about what exactly was her issue. I mean anyone who knows me, knows that I cry very easily and that seeing people in pain, touches some ‘nerve’ and I often get 'sappy' as well. On this occasion, I was able to hold it together, so that we could decipher the reason, why this woman who we didn’t know and who did not know us, would reach out to complete strangers.
Eventually her tears lessened and she began to talk about a domestic situation that involved her own infidelity and the challenges she faced with her spouse. The account which involved several persons sounded like something from a Lifetime movie that eventually escalated to a verbal confrontation earlier that afternoon. She was not prepared to go home, she was intent on a course of action that was by all assessments, illogical and she had no one with whom she could confide or who could provide support. We continued to engage her in conversation, to at least dissuade her from a response that could have turned violent or even fatal. I think we sat with her for another 45 minutes just talking about her life. That evening we learned that she was Muslim but no longer went to the Mosque, the one relative that provided emotional support to her was murdered in the prior year and that her relationship with her family was broken, after an older relative sexually assaulted her daughter as a child.
As I sat listening and supporting as best as I could, I thought about how quickly I almost judged her situation when we began to talk. I thought about how many lonely and broken persons needed love and support, just as much as the persons who needed food hampers. I was moved… It did not matter that we were not the same age, race or religion; this was someone who needed that one thing that was freely given for all, Love. I asked her whether we could pray for her and she agreed, so right there on the patio of a coffee house in Chaguanas, Trinidad we held a stranger’s hand and prayed with her. We offered comforting words of hope and assurance in and through the only Name we knew and exchanged numbers so that we could reach out to each other.
My fiancé and I returned to the car in amazement and he eventually said, “I was looking at you funny, wondering why you wanted to go sit down”. I learned some important lessons that day, the foremost of which, is that people need love, encouragement and support, no matter where they are in life and it is our responsibility as believers to provide it.
I sent her a text message the following day to find out how she was doing. She said that she was much better and expressed so much gratitude that we took the time to sit with her. I doubt she knows, just how much that encounter positively impacted me.
These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Luke 10:12