Coincidences happen all the time, perhaps more often than we realize. Sometimes a chain of unfortunate  coincidences can lead to a  disaster like the sinking of the Titanic. More often than not, coincidences work in our favour, saving us from impending trouble, like when people miss a doomed flight and get lucky. 

 

Saturday, May 21 was one of those days for us. In fact, the coincidences started the day before, when my wife and I bought a lighting fixture for our home. The fixture was  slightly damaged in one place and my wife wanted to exchange it for a new one. Normally, I am very opposed to returning things, but for some inexplicable reason, I agreed with her immediately. We planned to exchange it the next day at the same store where  we bought it 

 

On Saturday, we were busy with some housework in the morning. We had a heavy lunch, and decided to rest for a while. Normally,we have some coffee after our afternoon  nap but again, for some inexplicable reason, we decided to skip the coffee. We were making our way to our car, parked in the driveway, when my cell phone gave an alert sound. However, the phone was in my pocket, so I just ignored the sound.  Later, while driving to the store, the phone gave the alert sound again and my wife picked it up. It was a weather alert about an impending storm. By this time, we had driven too far and it was too late to turn around.

 

We reached the store with strong winds blowing all around us. Somehow, we made our way to the returns section of the store. Just by chance, the transaction took much longer than expected. The person ahead of us wanted cash for his refund, and the girl at the counter didn’t have enough at hand. She went to another cashier to get the money. In the meantime, there was a very violent storm happening outside; we could see it through the entrance doorway.

 

Once we got our replacement fixture, we wanted to check it out at the store itself, to avoid any future problems. It took a while to do a proper inspection and all told, we were at the store for a good thirty minutes or so. By the time we left, the storm had subsided, although it was still raining hard.

 

Traffic was at a standstill during the drive home, as most of the traffic lights were not working, due to power failure. The effects of the storm were visible all around us. Some patios had their temporary roofs blown away, there were scores of uprooted trees near the road. Some had fallen on fences, one or two even fell on homes. We even saw a couple of overturned cars by the side of the road.

 

The scene only got worse as we approached our own neighbourhood. The neighbour who lived across the street had a tree uprooted right from the ground; luckily it fell away from the house. When we reached our house, we saw a fallen tree lying on our driveway, in the exact spot where we used to park our car. We parked on the street that day and gingerly stepped into our home. We have a fairly big yard around our house, but luckily, there was no damage anywhere. The house itself was intact, nothing fell on it.

 

In legal terms, natural disasters are often described as acts of god. In this   case, we were saved from a natural disaster and this can only be described as an act of grace.

 

So many things could have gone wrong in the chain of coincidences that led to this act of grace. If the lighting fixture that we bought earlier was in perfect condition, there would have been no need to exchange it. If I had not agreed with my wife and argued as usual,we would not have exchanged the fixture. If this happened,  we would not have left our house the next afternoon. In that case, our car would have been parked in the drive way all day, and we would have seen it being wrecked in front of our eyes.

 

If I didn’t decide to skip coffee in the afternoon, we would have spent a few more minutes at home,  and received the alert message on the cell phone. If this happened, we would have cancelled our trip as there was nothing particularly  urgent about it. In that case, our car would have stayed on the driveway, waiting to be totalled by a falling tree.

 

If there had been no delay in exchanging the goods at the store, we would have left the place about twenty minutes earlier. If this happened, we would be on the road in the middle of a tornado event. Anything could have happened in that situation. We could have had an accident, our car could have overturned, like some of the others we saw on the road. We could even have driven home safely and parked our car on the driveway.

 

Who knows? We could even have been inside the car when the tree fell on it.

 

Truly, we were saved by an act of grace.

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Niraj Chandra

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