It is really amazing, the way God organizes things in our lives so that they fit just right, like a giant cosmic puzzle.
Tonight, I studied for a Christian Theo test with friends. It was a bit overwhelming… I can’t think of many subjects that can be more overwhelming than Theology.
One aspect of God’s character that fascinates me is his providence. The fact that God can, simply with a flick of his finger (or whatever the divine equivalent of a finger would be) change the course of the entire universe is frightening, disconcerting, and comforting all at once. One line of my notes talked about how God uses natural events in the world to guide us; something really interesting to me.
After studying, I went to a movie with some of “my girls.” Rylee, Beracah, and Michaela. The children inside of us were dying to see Nanny McPhee returns (little c, big P). In case you haven’t seen it… it is excellent. It’s the kind of movie that makes you go “awww” every few minutes… and magical things happen in a believable way. Elephants appear, bombs land in fields and are diffused, and crows pass gas hard enough to harvest an entire field of barley (I am not making this up, I promise!).
One of the best parts is that we almost had the theater to ourselves; only two other people were in there. Therefore, we were able to laugh loudly at the parts we liked best, which makes a movie so much more enjoyable.
Therefore, we were all in very jubilant moods as we left the theater; quoting our favorite parts and waving our hands in the air. It was a bit shocking to find a very somber looking man standing outside the theater. He looked at us.
“Do any of you drive a white Jetta?”
Confused, I raised my hand. “I do!”
“Come with me,” he said. Then, he turned and led me down a hallway.
Several thoughts went through my mind- I’ve been hit, I got towed, I got a ticket…
“Did something happen?” I asked.
Maybe I won a prize… one millionth person to park in that particular spot, or something. But, perhaps I should test this theory before I got my hopes up too bad. I decided to ask in a negative manner, so he did not think I was expecting anything.
“Something bad?” I asked.
My heart sank a little bit… so, it was one of the first ones that entered my head. I ventured to ask.
“Your car was broken in two.”
My car was broken in two?
My head still swimming with the magic of Nanny McPhee, this seemed nearly reasonable. A bit odd, yes, but it would be an interesting story. As we continued down the long hallway, though, I started to imagine on on earth could possibly break my car in two… a heavy piece of machinary falling on it? It was getting to be a pretty old car… I supposed it was weak enough, it could possibly break in half. Did it break in half, splitting the driver from the backseat, or longways? How would I explain THIS to my parents?
As the hallway seemed to just grow longer, I suddenly started to panic. How on EARTH does a car break in two? Who did it? Was that person still there? Was this the man that did it? Should I be mad at him? What was going on?
We finally went through a door marked “Exit,” and emerged into cool air. I approached my car, suddenly putting the pieces together.
“OH! Broken INTO!” I burst out, laughing a bit with relief. The man turned to look at me strangely… probably wondering why on earth I sounded so relieved. I didn’t take the time to explain to to him, since I had noticed my car.
The passenger side front window was busted out… and all over the inside of the car. I’m talking glass everywhere. I didn’t know glass could fly so far.
“Did you have a GPS in it?” he asked me. “Uh… yes… but it was in the glovebox.”
I immediately searched my head for an inventory of everything that was in the car. My sunglasses. A lot of trash. A broken bracelet from Africa. My purse.
Sure enough, the purse was gone. The GPS was not. Beracah’s backpack, which was very obviously positioned in the backseat, was still there. Just the purse was gone. I’m guessing the alarm from my car prevented anything else from “disappearing.” However, there WAS glass… everywhere. In every single crack and crevice of my car.
I stood there for a moment, in disbelief… what happens next?
“An officer has already been here,” the man (who turned out to be the theater manager) told me. “You need to call them again and get them to come down here so you can fill out a report.”
So, I picked up the phone and called.
“Hello… Lexington police. How can I help you?” The lady on the other end asked.
“Uh…” my brains felt scrambled. “Well, I’m at the theater in…” I looked at the man helplessly, suddenly not remembering where I was.
“Lexington Green,” he told me, helpfully.
“Lexington Green!” I said. “And my car got broken into.”
“Was anything taken?”
“You LEFT your purse in your car?”
“Well… yes. I always do. I just lock my car.”
“I don’t care if you DO lock your car, honey. Leaving your purse in your car is asking for trouble. That’s the most irresponsible thing you could do! What were you thinking?”
My shock at the sudden lecture broke the little composure I had been clinging to, and the dam broke. Tears started running down my face as I informed the lady, “Well, NOW I know that! In the meantime, do you think you could tell me what I need to do next?”
But she was too excited about informing me exactly how dumb I was for leaving my purse in the car. After another minute of her talking about it, I had choked up enough courage to say, “Ma’am, that is not helpful at all at this point. Can you please just send an officer down here so I can fill out a report about it?”
“We’re too busy for that, I’m afraid,” said the woman. She was obviously intent on making my night as absolutely traumatic as possible.
“You’re too busy??”
“Yes. You’re going to have to call back in the morning and fill out a report over the phone.”
“I’ll wait for someone to come tonight,” I told her.
“No, I’m sorry. That can’t happen.”
I hung up the phone in disbelief, completely unsure of my next step. Well, that wasn’t true. I called my mother.
Who immediately started making phone calls to make sure that my identity was airtight.
Around this time, a security guard showed up. “You’re the owner of this car? I was here earlier. Is an officer on the way?”
I told him my phone call, and he picked up his own phone and made a call. After a few strong words with the person on the other end, he informed me that an officer would be along shortly.
Finally, one came. “Want to tell me what happened here?” he asked. I looked at him, figuring it was quite obvious, but he seemed to feel the need for me to say it.
“My car got broken into,” I said.
“I see. And was anything taken?”
He pulled out a pen and paper. “Can you please list any valuables that are missing?”
“Um… a driver’s license, credit card, starbucks gift card…”
He laughed. I looked at him. “Well, it’s valuable to me!”
In the meantime, wailing had begun from the other end of the parking lot. Really loud wailing… someone was crying, very very hard.
A couple (the other people who had been in the theater with us) had been robbed, too.
“You said you go to Asbury?” the theater manager asked us, after returning from talking to them.
“Yes,” we answered.
“Well, when you pray or whatever it is you do at night, could you say a prayer for those people over there? They’ve been living in their car for a while, and all of the money that they owned was taken tonight.”
We stared at each other in shock.
And then went to introduce ourselves.
Their names were Wesley and Jessica, and they had nowhere to go. They didn’t have any money now. She had a court date the next day that she HAD to be at, and they didn’t have the gas to get there. She had been working two jobs, and she wouldn’t get paid until Thursday. Until then, they had about $7 that she had in her pocket. She bent over the steering wheel as she sobbed part of her story out to us. He sat beside her awkwardly, listening in silence.
“I usually carry my money in my pocket… just a couple days ago I decided to put it in a wallet. And I had my pictures of my kids in there, too!
We came to the cheapest place in town for some entertainment tonight, just to get our minds off of it all, you know? And then this happens…”
I looked at Rylee. She looked at me. Then we turned to Beracah, who immediately picked up her phone to call the local Salvation Army. She tracked down places for them to stay, and gave them the information.
We told them we’d be praying for them, that we were so sorry. We gave them some money, then told them we wanted to get them enough to get gas to go to court… unfortunately, I couldn’t leave at the moment, and my car certainly couldn’t leave yet. We explained our predicament to the police officer who finally arrived, and then to his two colleagues who arrived and spent a significant amount of time standing in the parking lot talking to each other (so much for being so busy…). They looked at us oddly, then told us that was very nice, but we would just have to wait until the whole thing was finished.
So, after telling them my address, phone number, and spelling my name for them about 50 times, we were free to go. We went to Wesley and Jessica, told them not to go anywhere because we needed to get them something, and then left. We made a run to an ATM then back to the parking lot. We gave them the money and a Starbucks card Beracah had in her wallet. Apparently Jessica really likes coffee… at least that made the evening a little better.
And then we left them there, in the parking lot, in the cold, hoping that something would turn out good for them. I wished that I could take them to a hotel and tell them to stay there as long as they needed. I wished that I could take them out for a hot meal. I wished, mostly, that I could just take them to my mom and dad’s house, where I knew they’d get all of the above, plus some.
As I drove home with my new garbage-bag window flapping noisily beside me, I couldn’t help but think about how amazing God is…
There was definitely a reason it was MY car that got the window busted out. I’m glad it was me, and not someone else who would have stayed on their end of the parking lot, leaving Jessica and Wesley to fend for themselves.
Overall, it was a very amazing night; God was definitely watching out for us. It wasn’t raining or snowing. We didn’t have to drive home in wetness. No one got cut on the glass. Wesley and Jessica had no damage to their car, so they still had that. I had my debit card and my student ID card in my pocket. Beracah’s backpack, full of textbooks, was still there. My camera wasn’t in my car, like it so often is. The credit card that was in my wallet got blocked in time to prevent them from making a $400 purchase- and a few other purchases that will help the cops track them. I get a new purse, which is something I’ve been needing for a while (I had a germ-x explosion a few weeks ago that has left it permanently smelling like tangerines and alcohol). Everyone was safe. There are only a couple things that were in my wallet that are irreplaceable; a letter from a good friend, some papers with the names and shoe sizes of the kids in Malawi, and some pretty awesome fortunes from Chinese buffets I’ve eaten at in the last couple years.
It’s okay, though.