The trauma that struck our household recently was almost unbearable. No, no one died. No one came down with a terminal illness. The house didn’t catch fire. The trauma that sent our family into a tailspin? Pinky was lost.
Pinky is the infant blanket that Karlyn has had ever since she was born. Although probably not factual, she has convinced herself that her birth parents gave her the blanket, thereby making it the only tangible reminder of them. When she realized that she couldn’t find it, all hell broke loose. She was inconsolable. She was angry. She was profane. Her depth of grief was immeasurable as well as disproportionate and misplaced. She blamed her mother and me for not being able to find it, even though we did our best to check the nooks and crannies of our modest mobile home for the better part of an hour.
As she thought more about it, Karlyn concluded that the blanket must have fallen out of her car when she and her friend went to the hospital to visit the friend’s mother. For the next several days her disposition was colored by her having to decide whether to accept the fact that Pinky was gone forever or not. After days of processing her grief and concluding that her precious blanket was, indeed, gone, she seemed to accept the inevitability.
We all went camping in New Jersey for the Fourth of July weekend, joining our older son and his family for the four days together. One morning, Karlyn was conversing with her friends on her phone. She suddenly brightened up, a huge smile crossing her face. “You’ll never guess what happened,” she said to me. “Not Pinky,” I said, amazed. She showed me a picture that the friend whose mother is in the hospital sent her, showing that, indeed, Pinky was among the recovered!
Here’s how it went down: it happened that the friend remembered that Karlyn had taken Pinky into the waiting room of the hospital that night, but didn’t remember her leaving with it. She returned to the hospital to see if anyone might have turned the blanket in. Sure enough, another woman who had been in the waiting room that night noticed that Pinky had been abandoned on the chair in which Karlyn had been sitting, and turned it in to the desk in case someone came back to look for it. Karlyn’s friend took it home until we got back from vacation and gave it a good laundering.
As I think back on the numerous details that had to fall in place in order for Pinky’s recovery to happen, I can conclude only that God was in total control of that sequence of events: losing the blanket, placing the unnamed woman in the waiting room at that time, planting the idea in Karlyn’s friend’s mind to go back to ask about it, having the same woman at the hospital desk who remembered the blanket being turned in, etc., etc. To have events dove-tail so beautifully – so seamlessly – is nothing less than miraculous, and I am unabashedly willing to give God the glory as a result.
As we all looked ahead to the weekend we would be spending together, our families made note of the weather forecast: spotty showers, possible thundershowers all weekend. The prospect was discouraging, since our son and his wife wanted to treat their son and Karlyn to an afternoon at Great Adventure (the original name of the Six Flags amusement park not far from our campground). They left both Saturday and Sunday open as options, hoping to make the right decision based on weather expectations.
Saturday was rather cloudy, but there was really no rain to speak of. We crossed our fingers that Sunday might pan out somewhat better. And it did! Contrary to the early forecasts, Sunday was a gorgeous day, mostly sunny, and very comfortable (although the kids did tell us that they had a very brief shower at one point at the amusement park. Evelyn and I had none all day at the campground).
Yet another way that God was watching over us, deciding that it would be pleasing to God to bless us with the means to fulfill our plans.
I pray that my own sensitivity to God’s presence in daily life continues to sharpen as I grow older. I’m grateful that I can confidently affirm the above events as God’s blessings and not mere coincidence. I pray that by sharing these stories others might consider how God always works for our good, even if our desires do not materialize.