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God’s Plan

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As some of you know, I have been attending a Grief Share counseling for the past 10 weeks (two more to go before completion).  It is held at a church but there are many of them held in varying locations all over.  But today’s thought comes to me on the heels of these meetings – it’s about God.

God is all powerful.  God planned us and everything around us.  It’s all in God’s plan.  I’m sure you’ve heard these things before. As I and my fellow attendees try our best to navigate through this ordeal of grief, we are told in one breath, God is in control and in the next, He gave us free will so everything is up to us.

Well, which is it?

Let me tell you a story:

My son has a wrecker business for three years now.  He impounded a car which remained unclaimed despite certified letters and announcements being posted in the paper.  After a lengthy hold (in this case 90 days) we took possession of the car.  This was unusual because it was a 2019 model.  Typically, these cars do not go unclaimed.  Older “clunkers” do – but not newer cars.  We began to clean out the contents of this vehicle which was no small task.  There was drug paraphernalia, clothing, remnants of fast food purchases, drink cans, etc.  It was a real mess.  In the midst of all this, however, was a canvas valise.  About to toss this into the trash, I noticed it and said, “Wait – let me see that.”  My son handed it over and the contents took me by surprise.   Inside was a birth certificate, social security card and letters from social security, military discharge papers, x-rays from military hospitals and dental records (film).  I could not imagine that we now held the contents of someone’s entire life in our hands.  By the same token, I could not imagine discarding this without another thought.  I decided to look this person up.

The name on these records did not match any names associated with this vehicle.  Perhaps they were friends and all living out of this car.  Perhaps this was stolen.  I had no way of knowing.  I looked him up on the internet.  This person had a known address of only a short distance away (a neighboring city).  No phone number was available.  On a clear day shortly thereafter, I decided to take the valise to the man in person.

I drove to the address given.  The house was a reasonably nice house, but all the windows were boarded up.  It looked very much like a house you would see after a fire.  I then knocked on a neighbor’s door and asked, “Do you know the man who lives here?  Do you know where he went?”  The woman informed me that she did not know him personally but that his Aunt lived on the corner house within walking distance.  So, I went there.

The Aunt came to the door and explained that the man’s mother lived out of town and both she and the mom were estranged from the man for a while now.  I then asked, “Well is there anyone I could give this to that is close to him?”  She replied, “Why yes.  His brother works close to here.  He is in law enforcement.”  Sounded like the perfect solution.

I then drove to his place of employment.  Despite it being a Saturday, the brother was at work.  I asked him over the intercom to please come to the lobby to meet me for a moment.  I then asked him, “Are you XXXX?  Do you know XXXX?”  I got the answers I was looking for.  I tried to explain to him that I had come by his personal information and needed to turn this over to someone close to him as I did not feel comfortable holding on to it or throwing it away.  As we walked to my car, the man confided in me that he thought for a moment that I was someone coming to ask him to identify his brother’s body.  He too had been estranged from him.  His brother had fallen on some hard times and the family feared for the worst.  I reached in the car, pulled out the valise and handed it to him showing him all the records that were contained in it.  He thanked me profusely.  We parted ways.

As I drove away, I couldn’t help but connect the dots in this event.  We impounded a car that for all purposes should have been picked up months ago.  We cleaned it out and realized we had personal records of this person.  I found that person’s family member and handed it over.  And that family member then tells me that he is waiting for a call to potentially have him identify his brother’s body.  The contents of that valise contained EVERYTHING he would need to see that mission through…. particularly dental x-rays. 

Do I believe in God?  Absolutely.  Do I believe that he has everything under control?  Yes, I do.  Do we have free will?  Sure do.  But if our hearts are in the right place, we get to be part of God’s plan and it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Make every decision count!

The Roaring Ellie

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