That encounter has gotten me thinking though about the mystery of time and life and collisions and near-misses. What led me to be in that place, at that time, in my truck? A series of decisions, plans, changes of plans, moments of delay, red and green lights, all brought me to that intersection as the other driver was also in the midst of his plans and changes of plans and heading there too.
This mystery is something I have thought about all my “thinking” life. I was just 12 years old when Bernice Hill called our house and asked if my sister and I wanted to be in her Girl Scout troop. Mom could have missed that call. I could have said “no.” A hundred different alternatives could have played themselves out.
But because I joined that troop I met Mrs. Hill’s daughter, also in the troop, who invited me to church, and at that church I met more friends, decided to “give my life to Jesus,” was baptized at 16, went off to seminary, got my first truck, moved to San Jose California, met my life partner, lost her to cancer, joined the UCC, was ordained, bought other trucks, moved to Seattle, bought a farm and a bigger truck, and was driving that truck on that road at that moment on Wednesday.
Sometimes those “moments” when our lives take such turns are not so clear. We aren’t even aware of what could have been. But I imagine everyone reading this can point to a moment, or maybe many, when it seems life’s path moved in an unanticipated direction and everything from that moment on was different.
I’m not sure what the point to these rambling wonderings is. I don’t think of myself as a “predestinationist” but I do believe everyone of us is destined for God’s love and grace. I believe God’s grace shows up in whatever alternate universes our alternative choices might create. I believe that even had my mother not answered the phone those decades ago, God would have found me and I would have found God.
That accident on Wednesday was scary. Clearly it has left me a bit shaken and reflective. I am deeply grateful no one was hurt. I know it could have gone very differently. All of us have had those moments when things have gone very differently, and we are left with grief and pain.
But regardless of how any moment, any choice, turns out, I also believe that woven through everything in life – the gratitude and the grief- is God’s presence (theologians call it panentheism), and God’s love, seeking me out, bringing me home.
And for that, I am very grateful.