Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Coincidence

I  apologize in advance for the cliche, but this is food for thought: An individual's scope of wellness cannot be limited to the ingredients ingested. With a more holistic approach, I'd like to focus on another component of general health in this post and that is mental nourishment.

Below is a short story I wrote about a desire for mind candy turned on it's head by pre-ordained details. What I learned from this experience is pertinent to the goal of this blog. Our brains are just as absorbent as our gut, what we put in will have an effect on the surface it touches, regardless of how harmless we think it is, or how hard we try to convince ourselves that it won't.
Let me preface this by saying, I'm not an extremist, I'm not self righteous, and I don't run a cult. With that said, take alcohol for example. We all know that large amounts of alcohol, over a period of time will result in serious damage to the liver. With such common knowledge, how can anyone expect that repetitive exposure to dramatic, gory, negative, or Gothic themed information wouldn't wreak havoc on our thoughts, and eventually our spirits?
No Coincidence
A few weeks ago, while visiting my sister in hospice, I was fortunate enough to experience one of those moments. The kind we long for. When we can feel God's presence, when His guidance comes across in tangible and literal means that we can understand, and even *feel.*

After another emotional conversation, where we consoled each other about her impending yet all too early death, my sister was sleepy and informed me of her need to nap. I kissed her on the forehead and quietly left her room, not sure of where I was headed, but desperate for a distraction from the thoughts and emotions coursing through my mind and body.

I found myself at a nearby used bookstore, and I was looking forward to the challenge that awaited me. Much to my delight, I noticed that this cute little second hand 'reader's Heaven' was busting at the seems, and the '50% OFF ALL BOOKS' sign, which was merely a desperate attempt to remedy their surplus predicament, was to my benefit. I was sure to find a treasure here, so I eagerly proceeded to scour the place. From floor to ceiling I gave each book a once over, determined to find the perfect book to take my mind off of my aching heart.

As I drew closer and closer to the check out counter, at the end of the well planned and slightly over analyzed circle and zigzag pattern I had made throughout the store, my confidence waned, and I became anxious about my treasure-less destiny. A sense of urgency rushed over me when I realized I had been in the store for more than an hour, many customers had come and gone, yet I was still there, searching, hoping to find a decent, yet self indulgent excuse to avoid the feelings I was choking on.

Amidst my racing thoughts, I said a quick prayer that went something like this, "Lord, please show me the way, guide me, help me find a book to get me through this, give me the book that YOU want me to read."

The very next book I grabbed was 'Learning to Breathe Again' by Tammy Trent. The description reads, "Choosing Life and Finding Hope After A Shattering Loss." Really? I thought. Really, God? I was hoping it would be something that would make me happy, take my mind OFF of my personal 'tragedy,' not something that would make me deal with it.

I put the book back on the shelf and continued down the bookcase just in case the answer to my prayer was a little delayed and there was a different book waiting for me. Within seconds my phone rang. Embarrassed by how loud it was in this quiet, empty, bookstore, I scrambled to answer it quickly, and in a whisper I said "Hi Mom, are you there? OK, I'll be there," and hung up.

My mother was meeting me, and she was only 5 minutes away from our destination. Disappointed, and unwilling to leave without a book, I reached for that sad one I had so quickly dismissed. I looked at it long and hard, Tammy's face on the cover staring back at me, and I said, as if I were speaking to Tammy herself, "I guess you're it." And headed for the checkout.

Unable to make chit chat without losing control of the lump in my throat, I hastily paid the store owner his $3.27 and left as fast as I could. Still disappointed that I didn't find anything lighthearted, and anxious to receive a hug from my mother, I tossed the book into my passenger seat and drove down the road to our meeting place.

Much later that night, when I finally arrived at my parent's house, after a physically and emotionally exhausting day with my cancer riddled, paraplegic sister, I managed to stumble into bed with Tammy's book in my hand. I had conceded. If this is what God wanted me to read, then I was going to read it. It didn't mean I was going to like it, it just meant that I was going to play along.

It is no coincidence that this book found it's way into my life. I have struggled with grief, and loneliness, and an inability to imagine how I will continue to live without my big sister guiding me, celebrating every blessing with me and comforting me through every hardship.

God knew this, and encouraged me through Tammy's story of heartbreak and healing. Tammy closes her book with this final testimonial:
"No matter what, God's still here, and at the end of the day, God is enough. Always has been, always will be. He can handle whatever we dish out. He laughs with us in the good times, he carries us through the pain, and when tragedy knocks the wind out of us, he helps us learn to breathe again."

I am humbled by, and eternally grateful for these 'non-coincidences'. They serve as tangible reminders to us, that we are not aimlessly wandering mortals with a sometimes painful, and otherwise meaningless existence. We are predestined children of God, and guidance is there for the asking.

*As a food prude, be aware of your input on all levels, and fill your life with information that is valuable.


  1. Cassidy that was so moving and awesome and such a showing of how god takes care of our needs. It was a blessing to me. I love you and I am continuing to pray for you and Bonnie and her family

  2. Beverly, I am so glad it touched you. Thank you for the prayers, and your encouraging words.

  3. Wow Cassidy, that was such a great story and something I needed to hear. God has blessed you with such a great gift, I hope you continue to use it. I love your family and am praying for you all during this time.

  4. Angel, I am humbled by your comments, and grateful that my story means something to you. Thank you for for your kind words and prayers.


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