I am what I like to think of as logical. I tend to be skeptical of things that seem too pat, too easy, too contrived. I believe in God but sometimes when people talk about miracles I think they’re searching too hard for meaning in an event that was mere coincidence.

Today I had an experience that left me feeling like perhaps providence was at hand, however. Nothing earth shattering or even remotely miraculous, and I’m sure there will be people who believe what happened was pure chance, but the timing of how everything worked – well, it was almost like there was something guiding me in my day down to the second.

A little background: My parents gave me two Godmothers, sisters who would never marry because of a debilitating genetic disease that struck them both. They were not expected to live into their 30s, but they lived far past that, and spoiled me rotten. I was a daughter they could never have.

The first sister passed away four years ago, but I still go see my other Godmother about every month. Sometimes two, though I am ashamed when I realize that much time has passed without me visiting.

Yesterday I read online about a business owner selling some used items that would benefit MY business. The sale was to be held today from noon until three. Well, last night I stayed up too late again, unable to sleep (as is my norm lately). But I woke at 8 and got the kids up, letting Zachary sleep in since he had the day off. I had planned to get to the business’s sale by noon so I could have first pickings, but I dawdled and didn’t get there until closer to 2:00.

Turns out this business is located right next to my sister’s office building, which I hadn’t realized before going. I called my sister and she took a nice long break and joined me at the nearby coffee shop. I drank a chai latte and we talked about her upcoming wedding.

After my sister went back to work I left to go see my Godmother at the nursing home where she lives. At the front desk a sign informed visitors to check in with the nurses on call before seeing a resident, due to recent influenza outbreaks. I dutifully waited for a nurse to get off the phone and then asked if it was okay for me to see my Godmother.

“She’s not here,” the nurse said. I was a little surprised – my Godmother didn’t go places very often at all, usually just to see her parents on Saturdays.

“When will she be back?” I asked.

The nurse blinked. “Oh,” she said. “She doesn’t live here anymore.”

That is not what I was expecting. My Godmother had lived there ten years already, and I assumed she always would. My first thought was that something had happened to her, but the nurse said she was fine. Because of HIPPA law, however, she was unable to tell me where my Godmother had gone.

I feared the worst. Hospice, like her sister? The hospital? Was she worse off and needed more specialized care?

I drove to her parents’ assisted living facility on the other side of town, my mind getting ahead of me with all sorts of unfortunate scenarios. I half expected to find out her parents no longer lived in their old space, as well.

I knocked on the door. Nothing. Knocked again, then thought I heard someone quietly say, “Come in.”

My Godmother’s parents were laying side by side on their bed, the father in a sleep so deep I almost couldn’t tell he was breathing at first. The mother’s thin hair stuck up in every direction and she blinked as she tried to recognize me. They are in their late 80s and in frail health. Often confused.

“Where is Rochelle?” I asked my Godmother’s mother after we’d said hello. She tried to sit up but I told her she could stay in bed. My Godmother’s mother, Mary, blinked again at me and explained how she and her husband had just been so tired, they needed to take a nap. I asked again, “Where is Rochelle? I went to see her and they said she had moved.”

Mary thought for a moment. “I don’t know where she is,” she answered. “I think she moved last week. Someone was supposed to call me, but they never did.” She told me again about how tired she and her husband were, so they’d laid down for a nap.

I was getting frantic. How would I go about finding one person in a big metro area? Her parents didn’t even know where she was! Mary was confused. I asked for Mary’s son’s phone number and she told me to go to the kitchen to find it.

Then the phone rang. Mary said, “Go ahead, get it.”

“Shaffer’s,” I answered. On the other end came a barely intelligible, “Mom?”

“Rochelle??” I asked. “This is Heather. Where are you?” And my Godmother started crying on the other end of the phone line. She tried to talk, but her disease has left her virtually unable to speak. She must speak slowly and very deliberately, and even then it is hard to understand her. Crying makes it worse.

“Rochelle, is someone there with you that can talk to me?” A caretaker came on the line, and I wrote down the address of the house where Rochelle had moved. Fifteen minutes later I was with my Godmother as she cried and said, “I didn’t know how to get a hold of you!” She had been living in the new home for a month and no one had told me. She had my e-mail address only, as she’d been unable to speak on the phone for quite some time, but her internet hadn’t been hooked up yet. Her parents could never find my phone number. I leave it on their refrigerator every time I visit, but when I return it is never there.

Would I have found my Godmother eventually? Yes, of course I would have. I would have tracked down her brother, or discovered the address among her parents’ notes in their kitchen, or called every assisted living home in the state.

But as I told my Godmother, I felt like something bigger than us had wanted me to find her today. I discovered the business sale at the last minute, I got a late start getting out of the house today, I ran into my sister and we chatted longer than her boss would have liked – had any of those things not happened for the exact amount of time that they did, I wouldn’t have been at Rochelle’s parents’ the moment the phone rang to find out where she was.

I will try to see divine intervention where others see it now.

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