At times, you’re lucky enough to see something truly special.
But perhaps on only three or four occasions in your life are you fortunate enough to be the only one to see something that appears to have been ordained in a divine fashion.
The latter was the case one Sunday recently as I was greeting at my church.
It was a rainy morning – not a torrential downpour but rather a steady light drizzle – when I spotted Doug about 50 yards away on one of the long sidewalks leading into church.
Doug, a faithful member of the congregation who’s only in his late 40s, suffered a stroke last winter.
“This is my first time back,” he had explained several weeks before. “I was not able to attend church for eight months, but I watched the service every week on the live-stream on the website.
“But the livestream, while it’s cool, is not the same at all as being here. It just feels so good to be able to sit in the church again and watch the service in person.”
It wasn’t easy for Doug, though, and that’s the way he wanted it.
He parked in his usual spot which was quite a ways from the entrance. Back then, Doug would bounce out of the car and be through the door and into the lobby in no time. Now needing a walker to get around, and being weak, unsteady and unsure of himself, he inched his way along.
When I asked him why he didn’t park closer, he said, “I want to eventually get back to the way I was before. So I’m going to do everything I did before, but it’s going to take me a lot longer for a while. I’m not worried. It’ll come. I’ll get there. I know I’ll get there.”
And with that, Doug didn’t want any help. He politely declined any offers.
But the rain was creating a new hurdle. The slower you walk, the wetter you get. And even though it wasn’t raining hard, it was coming down hard enough so that Doug was getting soaked. I kept watching him because he was the only person out there.
Coming up quickly behind Doug was Rob. Rob was always late for church, and always the same amount late – about 10 minutes. Rob walks fast, though, so it never takes him long to get into church. He is the sprinter that Doug used to be, and will be again.
As Rob walked by Doug, he stopped, struck up a conversation with Doug and, with great compassion and patience, walked with him. Or shall I say, he inched along with Doug. Rob was not about to let Doug make that trip alone.
For whatever reason, I looked down at my watch at that moment. It took the two of them about 18 minutes to go that 50 yards. By the time they got to the door, both men were soaked, including their shirts on this warm morning. Rob, who shaves his head and thus had nothing to collect the water, had water streaming down all sides of his head. His light orange dress shirt was now a dark color.
Rob made sure Doug got into the church, and after he did so, he peaked his head back out the door to, as he always does, have a quick exchange with me about the Cleveland Indians.
“Well, I guess I’m really late getting into church today,” Rob finally said kind of sheepishly.
“No,” I quickly corrected him, “you got to church a long time ago, my friend.”
Rob, who is as humble and unpretentious of a person as you’ll ever meet, just smiled and walked back into the lobby
And then, after both men were inside, I became a little emotional, for I realized I had been privileged enough to witness a little miracle with that tremendous random act of kindness.
I wondered back to when I was a younger man and was in too much of a hurry to stop and smell the roses and take in all the wonders around me, how many such miracles I had missed in my life.
Like Rob, and Doug, we all just need to walk a little slower and keep our eyes open.