Some call it, "The Lord's Mysterious Ways."
Today was an absolute crazy house at work. I was supposed to travel to a school district to help with various netbook and server issues. Instead, earlier in the week, I had TWO iMacs come up with missing operating system errors while trying to run XP Mode in Parallels. I planned on fixing those and then head down to the school afterward. Unfortunately, the video conference program scheduled with several sites around the state and the Manhattan School of Music went incredibly awry. The state video network had major glitches which lasted the full three hours of the program. Rather than a cool, interactive presentation, the participants eventually received a couple of worksheet documents to work through online. I spent the entire morning helping the Distance Learning Coordinator out with troubleshooting, phone-calling, and putting out fires.
Lunchtime comes and goes and I figure this will be another one of those "no lunch" workdays. I have those a lot, though not enough to make a noticeable physical difference, if you get my drift. In any case, the DL Coordinator offers a deal - I go get lunch and then when I get back, she can run out to a school real quick while I watch over the afternoon program. Works for me.
I run through the drive-through and decide that I will eat my lunch while getting my car washed! Brilliant. Or not. I pull around to the car wash and the first automatic bay is out of order. The second one has a line of folks waiting their turn. I don't have that kind of time. I head to another automatic wash nearby. When I pull up, a car is at the money machine. The man driving was struggling to get the machine to accept his money. I watched, munching down fries, trying to decide if I should help him out. He opened his door and began slamming the machine with his hands. I decide to wait for another minute. If this were to go on much longer, I'd have to back out and head for the office. A moment later, and the man pulled his car through the wash bay and out on to the main road.
I pulled up to the machine and selected a wash. "Please insert $2" the mechanically female voice said. This was not right, and it meant that the man had been able to get a five dollar bill into the machine before he drove off in frustration. I pulled in to the bay, and hoped the man was headed to the same wash that I had just left. I ate my lunch, hoping I could find the man in his Chevy Celebrity.
After the wash, I drove toward the other car wash and did not see his car. When I pulled along side the wash, though, I saw him sitting at the machine. I pulled a U-Turn and hurried back to where he was. As I pulled in, I stopped and jumped out of my car. By this time, he had his door opened again and was clearly frustrated - beating the machine, running his hand over his face and forehead, mouthing words.
"Hi! It doesn't like your money, huh?" I asked with a smile on my face, trying to ease his tension. "I was in the car behind you at the other wash. I didn't realize it had taken a five dollar bill from you," I said.
"Yeah, stupid machine," he returned.
"Well, you paid for most of my car wash, so let me return the favor," I said as I stuck my card into the machine before he could react. I pointed at the selection panel. "What's your poison?"
"Oh, thank you. It doesn't matter. Just pick one," he said, shutting his door.
"Well, then, I'll give you the big dog!" I hit the button for the "Ultimate" wash choice.
I hopped in my car and drove back to the office.
There were a lot of things that had to fall into place in order for our paths to cross *TWICE.* I prefer to think that the Lord above allowed (made?) this to happen to teach us both that even in the middle of two very different frustrating experiences, we can still find a way to help each other.
On the radio, KLOVE played Matt Maher's "Hold Us Together" as I headed down the road. Specifically, these lyrics played as I got back in my car: "And I'll, be, my brothers keeper / So the whole world will know / That we're not alone"
*The quote used for the title of this post comes from the movie, "Angels in the Outfield," in case you didn't know.