I don't believe in coincidences. So many things have happened in my life that can only be explained as being divine intervention at work, or as some might prefer to call it serendipity. A story one of our Coffee and Critique writers read last Tuesday has convinced me even more.
Usually our critique group limits individual readings to five pages, sometimes a few more pages if there is a small group. Last Tuesday four of us showed up and only two brought something to share, so we were able to spend more time on each piece that was read. And I'm so glad we did because the story Diana D. read was twice as long as what we usually have time for, but her story has stuck with me all week.
At times she had to stop reading as her voice broke and her eyes filled with tears. And she wasn't the only one with tears in her eyes.
Diana read a moving essay about a night she was working alone in an office at a local university/research hospital. She had already clocked out for the day but stayed late to finish a project when a young man stepped off the elevator and asked her for directions to the university hospital's emergency room.
After she gave him directions, he told her he didn't think he could make it that far because he had taken an overdose of pills then decided he didn't want to die. After calling for an ambulance and asking if she could call his parents, Diana sat and talked with the man; minutes later a security guard showed up to ask if anything was wrong. The conversation between Diana and the young man and then the security guard was uplifting and faith-focused.
I believe it was no coincidence that Diana and the security guard, both strong in their faith, were in that office the night the young man showed up asking for directions, and later spiritual guidance. To this day, because of HIPAA rules, Diana doesn't know if the young man lived or died, but she wrote the story in the hopes that it will be published and maybe the young man's family might read it and find peace.
We never know what will be read during our Tuesday critique group, and we never know when we might be called on to help someone through a difficult situation like Diana did the night the young man showed up asking for directions.
Sometimes in our critique group it's about more than just the writing, it's about sharing stories that touch our lives and lift up our spirits.