It was New Year’s Day: January 1, 2020. I hadn’t yet heard of the coronavirus. My hubby and I went for a walk by the lake. The day was cold but sunny and bright.
“I need more quiet time,” I told my husband. “I think that’s what is missing from my life.” Life seemed to be one big rushed routine. I was juggling two jobs, trying to write, which always came last, take our children to their activities, all of which consumed my time and left me exhausted.
“What is my purpose here?” I asked my hubby. “What is my life’s purpose? I wish I knew if I even have purpose. I think God wants me to be more giving,” I said wondering if God even existed. It’s hard for me to have faith in things I can’t see. By giving I meant reaching out to people beyond my circle, by giving my time and my money to others in need.
“But how can I give when I feel so financially insecure?” I asked. We stopped at the Tim Horton’s coffee shop on Lakeshore and sat down for a coffee and donut. I wrote my goals in a new 2020 diary I’d recently bought.
Later that evening, I looked for the diary and couldn’t find it anywhere. My hubby and I searched the car and our home several times.
“I’m going back to Tim Horton’s,” I said. “I must have left it there.” I entered the coffee shop and saw three men sitting at the table where we’d sat that morning. They appeared to be homeless and looked scruffy and bedraggled. I approached the counter and asked the server if a diary had been turned in and I explained that I might have left it at the table where the three men were sitting. He looked doubtfully at the men. No diary had been turned in but he told me I could ask the men if I wanted to, but that I should be careful.
“Excuse me,” I asked standing awkwardly at the table. “Sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you’d seen a diary. I think I left it at this table this morning.”
“No! No diary,” said one man gruffly.
“Okay. Thank you,” I answered walking away.
“Wait,” one of them called out. “I have a message for you. I have a message from the Big Man Himself.” He got up from the chair and stood before me.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this. I stepped back. He looked as though he hadn’t bathed in days but his unshaven face was joyful and he was smiling. He looked kindly at me.
“You are so busy in your life with your children and everything that you’re doing. God is trying to speak to you but you’re too busy to hear him.”
I was stunned. How could this man know about my life? I said nothing. He reached out his arms to me. “When you give with this hand, you get back with this hand,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to give. You have purpose,” he said. “You are loved.”
I didn’t know what to say.
“Thank you,” I said. “I got the message.”
“It’s not from me. It’s from God. Can I have a hug?”
I walked toward him and he gave me a bear hug. The server rushed over. “Ma’am. Ma’am, are you okay? You don’t have to do that.”
“I’m okay,” I said still stunned that God had answered me. “I’m okay.”
“You were meant to come here looking for your diary,” the homeless man said smiling.
When I went back home, I searched the car again for the diary and found it in a place we’d previously searched – in the back on the floor.
I realized I’d got the answers to my prayers, answers that I’d been seeking for a long time. I realized I’d experienced a miracle.
I haven’t shared this story with many except my family and closest friends especially because we live in this secular society where many don’t mention God. But it occurred to me that I got this message before the pandemic. It came at the right time. It’s what I’ve held on to in all of this past year’s uncertainty and fear. It’s what I hold on to every time I begin to lose hope or faith. I woke up this morning thinking of this message and decided I needed to share it widely. I want the world to have hope and faith. I want the world to know these things:
Have no preconceived notions about a messenger’s appearance.
You have purpose.
You are loved.
Make time for God.