God is amazing, isn’t He?
If you don’t believe in God – or even maybe if you do – you might put this down to chance or coincidence, but there are just too many of those handy coincidences flying around for me to be able to ignore them.
Some of you may have read the article I wrote recently on how to be a good neighbour. If not, you should.
I convinced myself, too, and today took my first, tentative steps towards getting to know the people in the flats above mine and the three closest businesses.
I started small and simple, with a couple of batches of cookies:
I left them outside the doors of the three flats above me (feeling as guilty as if I were stealing cookies, not giving them!), then went out to the businesses nearby.
The first was the sandwich shop above my (basement) flat. I’ve had occasion to visit them a few times recently, usually in the middle of the night, when they have caused water to leak through from their kitchen onto my or my flat-mate’s beds. Grr!
In fact, the main reason I decided to take them cookies was to demonstrate to them that I can be a nice, rational, normal person who doesn’t always dress in pyjamas and a hastily-grabbed hoodie! Since all our interactions had been negative, I wanted to make an effort to heal the relationship and turn it into something positive.
I handed over the cookies but, seeing there were other people in the shop, beat a hasty retreat.
I deposited the cookies at the other 2 businesses without incident, and was trying to decide whether I had time to pop to the Post Office or not, when I heard someone call my name.
It was the owner of the sandwich shop. We don’t see him around very often, and when we do, he likes to talk and talk.
In the spirit of neighbouring, though, I went back to say hello. He asked how things were going, was I still working for the think tank (who I haven’t worked for for 16 months, but he keeps forgetting that!)? I told him I’ve just been made redundant and from next year will be branching out as a freelance writer and editor.
[Yes, I know I haven’t told all of you that yet, I’ve been trying to find time to do it, but, well, life has been a bit crazy recently, so I haven’t quite got round to it, sorry!]
He said, to the man standing beside him, ‘Oh, we need an editor, don’t we?’ His companion responded ‘It’s very expensive…’ Not promising!
The conversation moved on, we chatted some more, he offered me a free sandwich platter for my Christmas party (I’m not having a Christmas party – though maybe now I should!), and then he started talking again about his website and how they had some copy for it, but needed a bit more and needed what they’ve got edited.
The other man (who turned out to be the owner’s business partner) then asked how much I charge, so I told him, and we agreed that they would send me what they’ve got and I will estimate how long it would take to produce what they need, and we’d go from there.
I couldn’t believe it. Here I was taking a few home made cookies to a few neighbours, trying to make a start on building friendships with some of them, and I come away from it with some potential new work!
God really is amazing. The chain of experiences that led to me walking into that shop with those cookies at that moment stretches back years – at least to my University applications, and possibly much further. That’s quite a complex set of chances and coincidences, and it leaves me totally in awe of God and His hand on all the details of my life.
It also gives me great hope for the future. If God can provide work for me just by me stepping out onto the street, He can surely be trusted with this new faith adventure.
I can’t wait to see what He does.