There Is Purpose In Everything
I hoped to beat traffic so I could be at my meeting on time. As I sped down the freeway, I suddenly had an urge for a cup of coffee. “I really don’t have time for this!” I thought. I was already nervous about the meeting and had planned to ask for funding for a recently launched non-profit project. But against the ticking clock, I found myself looking for a Starbucks drive-thru. For some reason though, I felt pulled to go to the next exit to a local café where I’d have to park and go in. “I hope I’m not late!’ I thought to myself but could not shake the feeling I needed to be at that particular location. It would only be a few short minutes later I would find out why.
Finally with my coffee in hand and hurrying back to my car, the scene around me began to come to a halt. It was like watching a movie in slow motion as I saw an elderly lady carefully get out of her car and make her way over to the sidewalk. I felt a rising panic and knew, before it happened, that she was going to fall. In that instant, I began to run towards her as she landed hard on the concrete with a startled cry. “Oh my gosh, are you OK?” She wasn’t moving and her legs were sprawled at an odd angle. I yelled at a passersby to call an ambulance. As the minutes ticked by with no one approaching to help, I yelled a second time for someone to call 911.
The lady began to sob as I gently took her hand. She was in pain and disoriented as I tried to assure her that help was on the way. “Is there anyone in your family who I should call? I’m not going to leave you, I’ll stay right here until the ambulance comes. What’s your name?” As a police officer approached us, the elderly woman gripped my hand tighter. “It’s OK. He is here to help.” She reached out to touch my cheek and said ‘you must be my guardian angel’. I didn’t think I was worthy of that depiction, but I had a strong knowing at the moment why I’d had that urge to go to that particular coffee shop. I also knew I would have to reschedule my morning plans but was struck with the sense that I was where I needed to be. I put the lack of funding and the delayed meeting out of my mind.
As the EMTs checked her vitals and loaded her onto a gurney – she cried out for me to ride with her. There was no room in the ambulance so I promised I would follow them to the hospital. When we arrived, the attending nurse came to the waiting room to get me. “Miss Eleanor insists on you being with her,” she said.
She smiled weakly as I came into the room. “You never told me your name young lady”. As I introduced myself, the nurse spun around and said ‘I thought you were her granddaughter!’ I just had to smile as I silently reflected on the serendipitous events that had placed me at the scene.
I stayed for a while as the hospital staff worked to track down a family friend who arrived shortly thereafter. And I was relieved to learn that Miss Eleanor’s adult daughter, who lived out of state, would be arriving in the morning. We said our goodbyes and exchanged phone numbers to keep in touch after she was released.
Miss Eleanor invited me over for tea a few weeks later. I can remember her smile as she met me at her front door. She invited me in and we began chatting about her miraculous recovery. “I want to know why a complete stranger would go out of her way to help an old woman?” I insisted that anyone else in my position would have done the same thing. “I don’t think so,” she said. “I remembered the moment I knew I was falling. I was so afraid and I cried out to God to help me. When I looked up, there you were.” The realization of the divine connection brought tears to my eyes.
As we said our goodbyes – she insisted on walking me to door and gently pressed a folded piece of paper in my hand. “What’s this?” I asked. “Just a little something God wants you to have” as she saw me to the door with a quick hug and a wink. “Let’s visit again soon dear.” I was stunned to see it was a check for the amount needed for the non-profit launch.