My wife and I were visiting a friend in Savannah’s Southbridge subdivision recently. Since I moved from there in 2012, many new families have come and go in this wonderful neighborhood.
I told my wife that I’d take her for a ride by the first house that my daughters Abbie and Annie lived in for a few years. We drove around the cul-de-sac and stopped in front of the house.
A couple was by the driveway, so we got out to speak with them. My dad taught me to do this, which we called “stopping by.” Nowadays it seems that not too many people just stop by. It’s more common to text or call to connect with someone, or at the very least to do so before showing up at their home.
As I introduced myself and Maria to the couple, the man said that we had met previously — at the closing when I had sold them the house. I didn’t remember him or his wife. It was during a difficult time, and I can hardly remember even selling the house after my divorce.
As we talked, he expressed to me his condolences about the accident that took Abbie’s life and the lives of her fellow nursing students. Then I noticed that his body language became stiff and his voice became softer than it was a few minutes before.
He looked into my eyes, and it felt as if he was looking into the deepest part of my heart and soul. With wet eyes, he said, “I lost my young son about three months ago.”
His words sent me into the freefall of pain and anguish I feel for anyone who endures the loss of a child.
As Maria and I headed home, with that experience lingering in my heart and soul, questions started forming. Was that “stopping by” just a casual coincidence, or do you believe there is a God who orchestrates every event in our lives? Is it happenstance that he and I met again, just after I received the first copies of my book, “A Journey We Share”? And when I send a copy to him, will it help his family navigate the hell they now face, and a darkness they did not choose?
My faith tells me that encounter wasn’t coincidence or happenstance, for any of us. What about you? What’s your perspective?
[Photo of Abbie and Anna at the first house.]