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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss


There’s an old and not particularly funny joke that goes like this: Denial is more than a river in Egypt. In that vein, Providence is more than a city in Rhode Island. Though perhaps that is what the settlers who named it thought it was—a place where they could find the protective care of God and/or nature.

It is not a word one hears much anymore—even in church for those who attend. But that does not mean such a thing has ceased to exist. I was pondering this the other day when an act of providence delivered to me a solution for a vexing circumstance. Out of nowhere an answer to my dilemma simply appeared and the more I looked into it, the more it seemed a gift from—for lack of a better explanation, heaven.

Has this ever happened to you? When you least expected it, you were suddenly gifted with something you did not expect, or perhaps had given up hope of finding. Some might call this luck but when it happens with sufficient frequency, and when you have given it up to the universe, you have to believe something more is at work. Now regular readers of this blog know that out of respect for those who do not subscribe to the idea of God, I often use the word Universe to describe a higher power that has a habit of intervening in our lives. If that is a more comfortable way of thinking I am fine with that—I don’t think God would care either.

The important thing is to honor providence—not to squander it when it comes your way. I jumped on this latest bit of good fortune, lest it slip through my fingers. As I write this nothing is a done deal, so to speak, but things are looking up and I have a good feeling about how it might turn out.

Now providence, does not always gift us with what we want—sometimes it sends a blessing our way that meets us halfway, or is just a bit different from what we expected. If that happens to you, don’t be chary. Accept the good fortune and the terms with which it comes. You see, God, or the Universe knows us better than we ourselves do, and for that reason we may get something we did not think we wanted, only to find out in time that what we received was precisely what we needed.

I am fond of an expression taught to me by a friend. We were all born with a crystal ball, but sadly the instructions were left out. Too true for me. My fortune telling abilities are not very good. I cannot see into the future and there have been times when I was glad I couldn’t—because the way ahead was pretty dark for a time. But then—out of nowhere, providence lifted me up.

As much as we may think we know ourselves, we know only what we have experienced thus far in our lives. We know nothing of the way forward or the experiences we may have in the future. If we are savvy to this, we allow ourselves to remain open, inquisitive and, ideally, fearless about accepting whatever turn of events arises. The journey may be a bit scary at times, we may wonder why we took the turn we did, but in my own experience it has always led me someplace good, and someplace I would never have gone otherwise.

Most of us are not fearless explorers. Even the most adventurous may shrink from some tests—the kind life administers before it provides the lesson we are meant to learn. Summoning up the courage for the less speculative of us is that object lesson about providence. Trust it, and it will take you to places you’ve never been or dreamed of going. The ride may be wild at times but you will arrive safely in the end.

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