Is it possible, that God is so much bigger than us and our worlds, that He can cause our individual lives to cross over with a stranger's life even for a moment? And if so, if it's possible, does it mean something? Does bumping into one another cause a greater grumble of activity in the grand scheme of things?
I was set out tonight to do a very individual, specific task for myself. Find a guitar case. Not just any guitar case though. There are features this case needs to have: a) needs to be travel-friendly b) needs back-pack straps so I can hike around African villages with it c) needs to be lightweight d) needs to be sturdy e) inexpensive
I have been searching for this case for a month and a half and seem to keep coming up empty. I'll spare you the frustrating details. So finally, as I'm driving to the next music store, I start praying out loud. "Here's the thing God..." I laid it all out, what I would really like to have in a guitar case, and if He could help me out, I would really appreciate it...
In comes Shane at the music store, long, bushy grey hair, Santa-esque physique and kind blue eyes. First encounter: I ask if he could lend me a hand. He starts clapping and pointing to me shouting for everyone to give me a hand too. I laugh and say, "Yah, ok. I set myself up for that! Good one." He helps me on my quest to find THE guitar case and over the 30 minutes I remain in the store, he finds out I do HIV/AIDS work in Africa, why I do HIV/AIDS work in Africa, that I leave in January, that I go to church, that he has a daughter named Nicole, his son's birthday is today, he likes to crack stupid jokes that make me laugh, he is a Celtic Pagan, his wife also works at the store and they have a dog who licks my hand.
We finally track down the case I'm looking for in Edmonton and it will be here next week. Has features a), b), c), d), and e). Thank you Jesus! I am so relieved and happy. Shane offers his hand for me to shake and says, "Nice to meet you." I shake his hand and say likewise and also, I thank him for all his help and for some reason I decide to tell him what I've been thinking all along, that he is a very kind man. I tell him to have a fun birthday with his son. Shane loses the twinkle in his blue eyes; his face falls. "I'd like to," he says, "if my son also thought I was a kind man..." Ohhhhhh dear. I put my hand over my heart and offer my sincerest apology. His son is somewhere in Pennsylvania. I don't have to guess that they are estranged. I gently ask about his daughters and he says they're coming for Christmas and his smile comes back. I wish him a very good Christmas and then they are closing up the store so I have to go.
So anyway, all this struggle to find a guitar case, I'm just musing, was it all to bring me to Shane who in 30 minutes made an impression on me and who maybe needed to tell someone about his son on such an important day as this? It all of a sudden seems to mean a lot more than just me and my guitar case.