A red umbrella

It was Albert Einstein that once said; “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

Once you become open to the idea that “things” don’t just ‘happen’, you can begin to connect the dots. Once you can accept that there is a purpose to everything and everyone, Mr. Einstein’s assertion regarding ‘coincidence’ and ‘anonymity’ begins to take on an entirely different level of significance.

Following a weekend full of bluster, rain, wind and even some hail, my trek into work this morning was beginning to look rather bleak. Driving on wet pavement should not present so much adversity to so many and make the trip even longer than it already seems to be. After all, we do live in the Wisconsin. We should all know that any one of the four seasons could appear at random at any given moment.

I headed for the door and stepped over my little one as she tied up her shoes for school. Before I could make a clean getaway, she hit me up for a lift to the bus stop. I know, it was an excruciatingly long one hundred or so feet from our driveway, but it was sprinkling and it was windy.

Since I was already behind, and doomed to even greater tardiness based on the traffic reports, I relented. Besides, I am wrapped around her finger and we could extend the weekend a smidge and spend some additional time together, even if for only three or so minutes. You need to carve those spots out when and where you can.

Just one of those coincidences, right?

She sped off on the bus and me, being the Type A worry wart that I am, resumed my full-fledged fretting about the high winds that were surely buffeting the practice field and the 30’ light towers we strategically placed around the perimeter there. With visions of twisted metal and shards of halogen light bulbs strewn about (‘oh the humanity’) dancing in my head, I pointed the van in that general direction, determined to make my fears come true. Just about where I should have been turning to view first hand would be the charred remains of our practice field, I decided to exercise some faith and let it be.

Just another chance happening.

Picking from one of my many weather/traffic related alternative routes, I settled on plan G and began to cut a swath through the Northwest side. Just as I was putting the finishing touches on a voice mail to a friend, I came to and found myself bearing down on one of those depth deceptive puddles in a low-lying area of the road. You know, one of those that you cannot believe someone else would be so foolish to drive through. With cars to the left of me, a curb to the right and my mind on positioning my cell in the cup holder, there was nowhere to go but through. I think Robert Frost said that was the best way out, once.

In about a block or two, all the bells and whistles going off on my dash indicated that my fate was sealed. I made a desperate attempt to get me and my van just a little closer to home, knowing that a large truck with towing capacity was lurking in my immediate future. With the loss of all power and steering imminent, I veered into an industrial park, lurched up along the curb, surrendered and made the call.

Wouldn’t pick that spot again in a million years.

With the mechanic alerted, the tow truck dispatched from the North and my eldest heading west to the rescue, I waited it out. Wrote a letter. Made some calls. Thought about my predicament. Tried to assess how far behind I was going to be. What a way to start the week. “How will I ever get back to square one?” A solid beginning to a pity party.

I heard the rumble of the tow truck coming up from behind me. I wondered where #1 was and if she stopped for some reason.

“No, she doesn’t drink coffee”, I reminded myself.

The driver looked tired as he hopped out and down from his truck. He said he had been hauling cars since o’dark:30, with many more still awaiting the hook. I asked if I could hitch a ride with him, so I called then texted my daughter to see if I could determine her ETA and adjust her travel coordinates.

No answer.

More calls. Still going to voicemail.

Murphy’s Law would have jurisdiction in this situation. I know we would pass right by her on the way back and she would wonder why I got her up to discover that I was missing.

Providence was announcing its arrival.

I figured I had better wait, bid the driver ‘Adieu’ and walked down the street to the corner. Within a few steps, it began to drizzle. Drizzle turned to sprinkle. Sprinkle skipped rain and went right to being a soaker. A sapling at the end of the block offered me some protection. However, with a trunk of my circumference, my east side was saturated in a matter of moments.

I started to feel sorry for myself. The pity party was starting to disturb the neighbors.

I began to wonder what was talking her so long. I could sense my Monday morning frustration turning the corner and making the transition to seething anger.

The wind blew harder.

I grew colder.

My backside soaked up more precipitation.

“What was taking so long?”

While peering north, employing all my fatherly Jedi powers, trying to will her towards me sooner, I saw a white sedan with a gold top and a dent in the corner of my eye.

It went past the intersection.

Then, it stopped.

It started to back up.

I returned my attention north; …” Did she have any idea how crappy this was for me, to be standing in the rain, with no jacket, waiting an eternity?” There had to be a disturbance in the Force.

The white sedan with a gold top and a dent  had turned left and was heading east up the street where I was stationed. I was focused on trying to get my ample frame between the sapling and the fierce nor’easter.

The white sedan with a gold top and a dent veered over to the curb next to me. The door opened. It was a teenage a girl with what looked to be her mom.

“Would you like this umbrella?”, she asked, smiling as she opened it up.

It was red.

Instinctively, I reached out to her, hand open.

“Yes, thank you.”

Being stunned by such an unexpected gesture – perhaps one could go so far as to call it coincidence – I uttered, “How will I get it back to you?”

Smiling, she said, “You can just keep it.”

We all just sat there for a moment. Soaking it all in.

Suddenly, I did not feel so cold and wet any more. A stranger just gave me a great big old hug.

“Thank you”, I stammered.

Through their gift to me, those two strangers said, “I love you. It will be ok.”

Anonymous.

Coincidence.

They closed the door and went to pull a “U-ie” to get back to the main drag. No sooner did my benefactors turn around and start to head back out on their appointed journey than my ride appeared at the same intersection. They made a left back out as my daughter made a sweeping left turn to the curb where I stood.

Still in a state of shock, I opened the door, smiling.

“They just gave me this umbrella”, I said.

“What?”, she replied.

“They just pulled in, drove over to me and said; ‘ Here, take it’ “ as I pointed to the car.

She strained to look over her shoulder as they pulled away. The white sedan with a gold top and a dent was gone.

A fitting exclamation point to an hour seemingly chock full of ‘coincidence’.

I am on to Him.

He can’t remain anonymous to me any longer.

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