“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” M. Scott Peck
Recently, I have had more than a few nights of restless sleep. Caught in a wide swing of emotions, I haven’t known which way to turn on something that had been troubling me for some time. My sense of balance was off. I jumped on a train because I knew if I didn’t I would be left behind or perhaps even run over. The problem with the train, or perhaps the challenge with the train, is it is going mighty fast and my own confidence in its direction is not without question.
Sometimes I am fine with such a predicament. Over the years I have learned that often times of not knowing and self-doubt lead to a completely new revelation about your life and its purpose. It’s a moment when you find yourself looking back at the road and finally get its value.
But this morning offered no such perspective. When you’re in the thick of it and not particularly sure of those in the weeds with you, it can be easy to get confused and unsure how you need to act next. I got out of bed conflicted, hardly refreshed from the night’s rest. I made coffee conflicted and the dogs were acting up, adding to my frustration. I suspect on some level they knew I was irritated and decided to make it worse. It didn’t matter the beautiful morning or how the sun set on the hill outside our family room window. I was on a not too pleasant journey towards frustration, partly fueled by my own uncertainty.
Enter Starbucks. I needed coffee. I always need coffee in the morning. A good, bold roast called to me and I went for it because I was feeling particularly victimized. The line was long, but I didn’t care. After ordering my Venti Americano with a dollop of whip cream, I stared out the window and saw a Volkswagon Passat pull in and park. On the back window of this vehicle were the words: You Are Loved.
I took a double-take. Okay, was this meant for me? It seemed so, timing being what it is and my belief in no accidents. Afterall, only an hour before I was hurling complaints at the universe for leaving me clueless as to my next steps. Or better yet, frustrated it had not honored my need to win the lottery so I could run away.
I got my coffee and walked out as the owner of the car started getting out of the front seat. I decided to wait because the message on her car so moved me that I felt tears gathering in my eyes. Before seeing even her face, I yelled out to her that her message was so wonderfully important to me at this moment and thanked her.
She got out and turned around the back of the car towards me. She was a woman, perhaps in her 70’s, with long graying brown hair piled carefree on her head. She had a whimsical wooden cane and wore flowing clothes, reminding me of a free-spirited hippy, if you will, who had found her well-earned right to wear purple and with great dignity. I warmed to her readily. A disguised angel, perhaps?
She looked at me with lively brown eyes and chuckled. I must know this person, I thought. It sure felt like I knew her.
“You know,” she said. “I have had two near fatal car crashes, and after the second one, I decided to have those words etched on my car. It has elicited more than a few comments from people I happened to meet upon the road and elsewhere. Those words are like my guardian angels. I can even see them in my rear view mirror. At the end of the day, they remind me that we can always count on God to be there, no matter what the circumstance.”
Alright, already. You want a sign, here it is. The universe wasn’t mincing words. I shared very quickly my appreciation. I mumbled my thanks again, and quickly walked to my car door because I was crying like a blubbering idiot. I kept saying oh, my God, as I fumbled for my keys. Talk about an in-your-face pronouncement.
So, did I feel I was being given a message of hope? Yes, absolutely. Did I happen upon some mighty message that tells me my next steps? Well, not completely, but I sure felt a heck of lot better.
I can say this much. That so called chance encounter changed the course of my day. I may not have all the answers. In fact, I never did. But for now, I became forever changed by an unexpected encounter that gave me the determination to keep plowing ahead. Somehow, I’ll figure it out on the journey that doesn’t really end, but if I play my cards right, that road will lead to greater illumination and true understanding.