How a pair of flip flops reminded me of hope
by Staff Writer
by Rev. Tony Marciano
Last Spring my wife and I had boarded a tour bus to visit Brookgreen Gardens near Myrtle Beach. It’s a beautiful spot, and I encourage you to visit it the next time you are at the beach. Just as we arrived, my wife’s flip flop broke, rendering it useless. Since we arrived on a bus instead of taking our own car, we couldn’t leave the garden and buy another one. The gift shop didn’t sell flip flops. We were going to be there for three hours. We would we be stuck sitting on a bench because of the broken footwear.
Desperate, we hobbled over to the welcome center to explain our dilemma to the greeter. After listening to our story, the woman took off her flip flops and loaned them to my wife. She told us just to return them to her before we boarded the bus.
We were shocked, surprised, flabbergasted (that’s not a word you hear every day) and overwhelmed by this woman’s generosity. My wife and I had a great time during the next few hours enjoying the park and admiring the statues. We went back to the welcome center to return the flip flops and thanked “our angel” for making a memorable experience for my wife and me.
I share this story as a reminder that how we see life, the attitude that we bring will determine our altitude. If we think we are beaten, we are. If we believe that there is hope, we will see the hand of God moving before us in ways we can’t explain. Let me tell you another story.
Last April, I marked “Executive Assistant Day” on my calendar. I wanted to be sure I remembered that day for my new executive assistant. But as my life has often gone, I got busy and totally forgot the day. Now let me add another twist to the story. Normally, I workout at the gym before coming to work. For some reason, I went to the gym over lunch. I ran into a friend I often don’t see in the locker room. We normally exchange polite pleasantries and talk about the Charlotte Rescue Mission. That day, he didn’t bring up the Mission. Instead, he looked at me and said, “Do you know what day today is?” to which I replied, “No.” “It’s Executive Assistant Day” he replied. I gasped as I realized I almost missed that important day for my assistant. Fortunately, I had the time to pick up a card. Why would someone randomly bring up that it was Executive Assistant Day?
There is a scripture verse that says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” I’ve learned that there are no simple coincidences in life; there are holy coincidences. Yet, in both of the above mentioned stories, I had a choice. I could shrug it off as just something that happened and move onto the next appointment on my calendar. Instead, I’m still learning that because of God’s incredible love for you and me, He is constantly pursuing a love relationship with us. Sometimes, he makes Himself visible to us through “holy coincidences.” We just have to look with eyes that are willing to see the hand of God moving in front of us.
When you put down this paper, clean your eyeglasses. But don’t look at life with your eyes; rather see with your heart.
I’ll be back real soon. Until then, live well my friend.
Rev. Tony Marciano is the Executive Director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. The Charlotte Rescue Mission provides a free long term Christian recovery program for men and women who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.