Bio Preview: Joyful Witness
Coincidences: what do you think of them? Are they the products of mere chance? Or might they have a hidden meaning? You know the sort of thing: an unexpected meeting with the very person you need to meet; the arrival of a letter at an exceptionally appropriate time; two unusual but identical names or situations cropping up on the same day; the answer to a troubling question found in a book opened at random.
For over thirty years I have kept a record of coincidences such as these, coincidences which have happened in my ordinary family life. At first I kept my notebooks hidden at the bottom of a drawer, and refrained from talking too much about these precious experiences. Raised eyebrows and pitying indulgent smiles from adults, or alarmed expressions on the faces of my children, made me wary of referring to the unseen dimension which I sensed behind visible ‘reality’. But sometimes, when a series of coincidences exploded into my life like fireworks suddenly lighting up the night sky, the joy and wonder were just too much to keep to myself! Gradually my family began to accept, then to share, my astonishment at the latest strange example of synchronicity. Now they phone me to say ‘I must tell you about a “Big C” that happened to me yesterday. It was amazing!’
Geoffrey Ashe, in his book Miracles, talks of coincidences thus:
Who knows? … Trivial in themselves, they might, together, compose a continuing ‘sign’ of deep import, as a mass of dots composes a newspaper photograph.
I personally feel that such coincidences are used as messages on a sort of higher wavelength to reassure us, comfort us – and ultimately lead us to God.
‘Messages from whom?’ asks the sceptic. ‘Do you claim they come directly from God? Or maybe you think you have a guardian angel?’
I don’t know. I don’t claim to understand how the system works! I prefer to leave it sine nomine (without a name) and just feel a deep sense of gratitude for guidance received – or sometimes simply for a touch of humour which lightened a tense situation! But I do know from experience the truth of the late Archbishop William Temple’s words: ‘When I pray, coincidences happen’. It is to this truth that I want to testify, to bear witness – but in so doing I feel as if I am baring my very soul! To make public the contents of my private diaries, thereby revealing my inner thoughts is, perhaps, to run the risk of ridicule, just as if I were exposing my middle-aged body to public view! But the years which have brought physical changes have also brought with them the welcome benefit of experience, altering my attitude towards the phenomenon of coincidence.