I had an experience when I was young, like 8 or 9, that really felt to me like Divine Intervention. Like the Big Guy was definitely looking out for me……
It’s not a near death experience. It’s not a tear jerker. But it’s something I never forgot, it felt like SOMEONE was giving me a message that day……
Flashback to grade school…. In my day (wow, I’m old), we packed lunch most days. I brown bagged it, and still love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Especially with a layer of Dorito’s in the middle.
On Fridays, I was allowed to buy lunch.
This was a big deal. You bought lunch tickets ahead of time, and at lunch time the teacher would have the kids who bought lunch stand at the front of the line as we walked to the cafeteria. Your lunch ticket was supposed to have your name written on the back of it. Mine did, I wrote them all out ahead of time at home. School lunch was awesome, even if the food actually sucked. There was just something about standing in line with the other kids, holding your tray. Moving down the line as the lunch ladies gave you whatever was on the menu for that day. I think Fridays was pizza day most of the time. AND, there was always dessert. My favorite was the Strawberry scooter crunch ice cream bar. Also a big hit on Fridays.
It just so happened that a good friend of mine happened to be the daughter of one of the teachers. One day we stayed after school to wait for her mom, and we were playing in the empty classrooms, running through the empty cafeteria. Then we saw it. People were cleaning, and had moved the huge garbage can from the kitchen out into the cafeteria. It was HEAPING with lunch tickets. Makes sense, right? You turn your ticket in…it got thrown away.
We looked at each other. Words were not necessary…and filled our pockets with used lunch tickets.
Suddenly, I was rich. that is exactly how it felt.
Day after day I got to stand at the front of the lunch line. Didn’t matter that I still packed my lunch…. I got the school lunch too, and just took what I wanted. Usually just the dessert. I felt no guilt.
One day, it was almost lunchtime. I had already taken out a random ticket from my baggie of lunch tickets with me. I was sitting at my desk, waiting for the teacher to call us to line up for the cafeteria. I could taste my Strawberry scooter crunch already!!
After we lined up, the teacher made an announcement. Someone had lost their lunch ticket, and thought it was taken out of their desk. She was going to come to us and have us show our tickets to her one by one.
There was NO escape for me. Immediately red faced, with my heart hammering, I held that ticket in my hand, wishing the floor would just swallow me up. CURSING that damn garbage can, tempting me so much like Eve and that stupid apple. What in the hell was I going to say when she looked at my ticket and saw someone other kids name on it… and not even the kid whose ticket was missing???
I looked at my ticket as I waited for certain death.
It was BLANK. Holy Hell, there was no name on that lunch ticket!!
I can not explain the relief. And the wonder. How was it possible that I managed to pick the ONLY ticket without a name on the back of it on that day? Because I checked later, the rest of my stash definitely had names on them. So had all the tickets I used up to that point. Carefully written in 4th grade cursive as we had all been taught.
I didn’t get in trouble. No one ever knew what a thief I was. Until that moment of almost being caught, I really hadn’t thought of myself as a thief. Just someone to benefit from a happy circumstance. I mean, those tickets had been paid for once already, right? Keeping them in the garbage was just like, wasting them…right???
I don’t remember if I ended up buying lunch that day after all. I probably did. But I know I brought those tickets home and looked at them one by one that afternoon. Slightly crumpled, with names written in smudged pencil. All but the one I had magically chosen.
I threw them away. Finally feeling dirty about what I’d done.
And I thought about it. A lot. I felt there was a reason for what happened. I felt it was a message for me. Maybe corny, but to me, it was like God was showing me that there was nothing I did that He couldn’t see. He saved me, and wanted me to know it.
I know. You might think I am choosing to find meaning in what could have been just a lucky random event. And that’s ok.
I still feel what I feel about it. Insignificant of a story as it is, I remember still the fear of being caught, and that massive relief of knowing my dirty secret was safe. Followed by amazement at my luck. Or Divine Intervention. For me, it became proof. Proof that God is there. That he sees everything, and nothing gets past him.
I believe he “saved” me to teach me a lesson.
Over the years, I’ve had other experiences that support my faith, the usual birth of children, miracle of life, blah blah blah.
But I think this was the first time I felt some connection with the Big Guy. A nudge, or maybe an elbow… a little “Hey, I’m watching you over here….” And I took it as proof.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?