Let me start at the end of my story and work my way backward. Last week, I assisted a homeless lady at the park to find safety. I can’t take credit for everything that happened, because my friend Michelle was part of it. The divine order here, is how my day unfolded for me to be at the park at the exact time to meet the lady.
My original plan for the day was to attend a conference via Zoom. That was to last for 4 hours. I wasn’t really looking forward to sitting at the computer that length of time, but I was going to do it. After that, I was going to the park for my daily walk. Things started adjusting when I couldn’t enter the Zoom conference. I tried for 20 minutes and never got in. As I was pondering giving up, my friend Michelle called telling me that she was in the neighborhood and wanted to stop by. That was a good enough reason to toss in the towel on the conference.
Michelle asked had I already taken my morning walk. I told her no, because I was supposed to be on a Zoom conference. She said that it would actually be closer for us to meet at the park instead of at my house. I agreed since it gave me a chance to kill 2 birds with one stone…complete my walk and visit with Michelle.
I finished my walk just as Michelle was driving into the park. We sat at a bench under a covered area where people usually host parties. After about 20 minutes, Michelle noticed a lady sitting a few benches away from us. She whispered, “Is she homeless?” I looked up at the lady and noticed 4 or 5 plastic grocery bags. I could see food items in them. I whispered back, “No. She must be having a party.” I thought no more of it. After about 40 minutes, Michelle and I left the park. She went home, I went to a store, but decided to go back to the park before heading home.
Until Michelle mentioned it, the thought of the woman being homeless never entered my mind. I walk that park every day. Many days people host birthday parties, baby showers, and family cookouts in the covered area where we sat. What made her think that lady was homeless? Now that she planted that seed, I had to check it out.
I walked to the covered area and the woman was still sitting there. It had been over an hour and no party-goers had arrived. I asked if she was okay…mainly because it was 90 degrees! She told me that she was fine. She didn’t look fine. She looked tired. The heat made me cut to the chase and ask if she was homeless. Yes she was.
For the next 3 hours my social work skills kicked in and I called shelters, housing facilities, food pantries and any place else I could think of to help her. Nothing worked. I couldn’t leave her in the park. She told me that she was 66 years old. So am I. That could have easily been me in her shoes. The woman told me her plight and I hopelessly listened. What was I going to do? She told me that she would just sit there for a week or so until she got her Social Security check. “You can’t stay here overnight, much less a week,” I shouted.” I didn’t mean to raise my voice, I was just frustrated at all the dead ends I encountered. Finally one more option occurred to me.
I asked the lady to bear with me, as I made one more call that might be frightening to her. By now we were both hot and tired. I called law enforcement and a sheriff’s deputy came to our aid. At first he didn’t know what to do either. Within 30 minutes we had developed a plan and he was packing her items and her into the police SUV. I assured her that she was not in trouble and wasn’t being arrested. She asked if she could hug me. As she sat in the vehicle, she said, “Your family is going to be mad at you for spending so much time helping me today.” I smiled back and said, “My family would be mad at me if I didn’t.”
The divine order of that day wasn’t intended for me to attend that conference. I don’t know what brought Michelle into my neck of the woods, but she was a key part of the plan. Her eagle-eye noticed something about the woman that I never did. And the seed that she planted was just right for me to go check things out.
The woman in the park thanked me for helping her. I was the one who owed her thanks. She reminded me that divine order is alive and well. When I felt myself in the midst of doing something for someone who needed me at that exact moment, I knew it was a force greater than me operating.