By Guest Author and Blogger, Carolyn Perpetua Astfalk
In hindsight, the coulda, shoulda, woulda, maybes are usually quite clear. Sometimes so clear they induce regret, misplaced guilt, and disappointment. And sometimes, we get an infinitesimal glimpse at the majesty of God and the how skillfully He’s knit the tapestry of our lives, His loving care ever present.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. (Luke 12:7)
While our summer vacations are never extravagant, our family still looked forward to a beach vacation this summer. It wasn’t an ocean beach, but merely a beach on Lake Erie. Even so, we anticipated showing the kids some place new and exploring what the city had to offer for five days.
And then my youngest son struck.
At three, his behavior is still at times wildly unpredictable and inexplicable. For some reason, one afternoon this spring, while he and his four-year-old sister were watching television, he picked up a plastic tackle box his older brother had won recently at a fishing derby and bashed it against the television screen.
I say “bash,” but I had just answered a phone call upstairs, so I didn’t witness the event. Only the result – a spiderized, pixelized display of destruction on our screen. We bought the only television we own early last year when our old cathode ray tube television finally expired.
After the initial shock and anger, the shouldas cropped up. We should’ve mounted the TV on the wall. I should’ve been in the room. The tackle box should’ve been put away.
Then we had the decision to make. Replace the television or not? I’ll spare you the considerations and decision-making, but in the end, we decided to replace the television at a cost that amounted to more than we estimated our low-budget vacation would cost.
With some reluctance…
We canceled our vacation plans and diverted our trip to the south of the Great Lakes to visit family in Pittsburgh and make use of our museum pass.
As part of the trip, we visited my husband’s father at the veterans center. We’d last seen him briefly at Christmas, before his move to the center, our visit cut super short by my husband’s stomach flu.
The kids enjoyed seeing PapPap and even with poor vision, PapPap clearly enjoyed his visits with them. Each child had a chance to talk to him, as did my husband and me, and we were able to tell him that we loved him and him, us.
Weeks later, his health rapidly declined. He passed away after a short hospitalization at the age of ninety.
In hindsight, I realized how blessed we were that our little boy broke our television and spoiled our plans. Had the television not broken, we would not have re-routed our destination. Had we not changed our destination, we would not have had those visits with PapPap.
Things had worked out perfectly.
Well, as perfectly as they could where the illness and death of a loved one are concerned. How inscrutable are God’s ways! How beautifully He provides for us!
That’s not to reduce God to a celestial puppeteer or us mortals to mere automatons. We can and do exercise free will all the time. But when we look – really look – we see the beautiful orchestration of life.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 NLT
While we may recognize these extraordinary “coincidences” or “God-incidences” in major life events such as mine, how often do we fail to notice the little ones only in hindsight? Or not? Oh, we notice the string of events that don’t work in our favor – the broken coffee machine, the string of red traffic lights, the rain splattering our shoes, etc.
I can’t help but marvel at how many overlooked micro-blessings there must be in my life. And how good God truly is.
Carolyn Astfalk resides with her husband and four children in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She blogs at My Scribbler’s Heart. Her debut novel Stay With Me, an inspirational romance, is available on Amazon.com
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