We had just dropped my son off at the airport and were stopped at an intersection waiting for the light to turn green. Feeling the sting of tears behind my eyes, I tried to hold on to the hug I had just given my child as we parted.
My sweetheart and I sat in silence as he pretended not to notice my gloominess. Directly ahead of us, also waiting at the light on this quiet beach highway was a car with two young women. They were laughing and talking, more focused on the conversation than the road so they didn’t see the light turn green. Now typically in these scenarios, my sweetheart gets impatient with distracted drivers and toots the horn to get them moving. But this time he didn’t.
We sat still for a few more moments and waited. Suddenly we saw a car speeding down the highway through the intersection running through the red light. Seconds later the driver disappeared in a blue haze without as much as a backward glance. I gasped as the young women in the car ahead of us then nonchalantly drove on through the light, still in conversation, not even noting how close they had come to a full and likely terrible collision.
My partner and I looked at each other and simultaneously said, “Thank God they didn’t go when the light turned green, they would have been hit! And thank goodness we didn’t blow the horn at them to make them move.” As it turned out, these women had no idea they had escaped injury by slowing down their reaction time at the light.
But we did. That image of the car recklessly flying through the intersection, the look of the two young women laughing together as we passed them, the sense of shock and grace of what we witnessed stayed with me for the rest of the evening.
What invisible force kept these two women stuck in animated conversation so that they did not respond to the traffic light? What made my somewhat impatient partner not sound the horn to get them to move?
This day, like others, reminded me of the seemingly randomness of life, of fate. Yet, strangely, I had an equal sense that something had been orchestrated in that moment, some divine force that keeps lives in order, protected.
In this instance, had we been “placed” by higher forces behind those women at the light instead of impatient teenagers who might have urged them on into traffic –and a collision–with a toot of a horn? Or was the message that day directed to us, had the girls been placed there to help us get a message about slowing down? And the careless driver, what was the role or lesson he was to initiate on this day for himself –and for others?
I am often in wonder about the interconnectedness of life, the mystery of our lessons, even why we are where we are in any given moment and why. When I think like this I wonder if the people who have paraded through my life have been part of a divine symphony, each there to play their note, discordant, joyful, melancholy to make up the music of my years.
I wonder too about the people whose lives I have touched–friends, partners, family members, strangers, even. How many have I knowingly or unknowing influenced in some way and for better or worse?
When I think like this, from a place of connectedness and wonderment, I am more aware of my words, my surroundings, my attitude, too. Because that’s all I can control. The rest is a magical mystery tour that seems to run through an invisible, divine matrix that connects to us all. After all, what is in the one, is in the whole.
Still I have a sense that our interactions are a reflection of both our choices and divine intervention. And I believe this sacred mystery that is life is both happening to us and for us, even when we don’t know or understand …and that grace hangs ever present in the ethers.
Because it does.
Those two women who drove off that day never knew they were riding through a matrix of grace that kept them safe from outside influences like speeding cars or impatient horns. But I knew it.
Have you ever experienced divine intervention? I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace, particularly at midlife, read my book Tao Flashes .Or visit me at http://www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes.