Wednesday, 3 September 2008


Elizabeth Sherrill, in All The Way To Heaven, writes:
Moments...when the small routines of living seem to flow without effort - when I experience what our friend David Manuel calls a 'graced day'. The news item I wanted to hear is on the radio as I tune in. The person I've been trying to contact phones me. A car pulls out of the parking place as I drive up. It's a day when the timing of many schedules seems to mesh like notes in a symphony. When in the humblest event I 'catch the universe in the act of rhyming'.
I have had two examples of serendipity lately that have made me laugh aloud. One involved tracking down a Bible verse, to find, when I eventually got to a Bible look-up site, that it was the example given for ways to look things up; and the other was the coming to light of a book I've been looking for.

I first read Ruth Barton's Invitation to Solitude and Silence when I was just beginning to investigate the idea of silent worship, well before I considered becoming a Quaker. It struck me then as an eminently down-to-earth, practical and sensible book that didn't assume (unlike some I have read) that you are Super-Christian. I gave up on that one a long time ago - and anyway, the cape would get tangled in my wheels :)

I lent it to a dear friend who was moving along a similar path to me, and she loved it too. She tried to find a copy for herself and failed, so when she gave it back to me, she suggested I keep it safe. A few months later I moved to my hew house, and purged my bookshelves - but I was sure I did not get rid of it.

That being said, I couldn't actually see it there either. The waist-height bookcases are behind the sofa, with about 18 inches of space between them and it, and it's pretty difficult for me to get all the way along them. I'd concluded it must be on a bottom shelf, out of my sight.

On a whim I asked Jacky, my regular carer, to look for it today. I described it to her - thin paperback, pale spine, called something about silence and solitude - and she started looking. 'Is it about this size?' she said, pulling a book out.

'Exactly that size,' I said. 'That's the book.'

It was on a top shelf, and yet I had never spotted it. We both just burst out laughing at the coincidence, and I heard Elizabeth Sherrill's words in my head again :)

I am no longer so arrogant as to believe that God micromanages my life. Why would She find a book I needed, but not give water and food to the inhabitants of Darfur? But, like Elizabeth Sherrill, I always enjoy hearing the rhyming.


RichardM said...

Here's an example that happened to me recently. I volunteer to coach the chess club at one of the local high schools and meet one afternoon per week at the school and one evening per week at a local coffeehouse. The evening meetings are often attended by kids who have graduated from high school and are now attending college but still want to keep in touch. These meetings are partly about chess but mostly a time to just talk and for me to be an adult interested in them who will listen to what is happening in their lives. After one game of chess Thursday it was clear none of the boys wanted to play more chess and someone suggested we play one of the other games provided by the coffeehouse. I suggested Mastermind but the boys opted for Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The first question pulled out of the box read: what is the name of the game in which people have to guess a pattern of colored pegs? The answer Mastermind.

Heather said...

Brilliant! I do love these little happenstances :)

Susan Harwood said...

Hello Heather

Thank you for your comment on my blog, Times Rhymes.

I hadn't realised I had left comment moderation on after being away for a couple of weeks, so I've only just found it. Apologies.

About your post here . . . there's a blog called Rosa-Sinensis that I like very much.

In December, she wrote a post in a similar vein - you might like it.

This is the link.

I've left her a note telling her about you too. I hope that is ok.