Posted by: jevcat | July 19, 2010

On Being There (Wherever “There” May Be)

I’ve been thinking the last few days about “being there,” about the tendency of God to position us where he wants us– where we’re needed – when we thought we were doing something else entirely. 

I remember coming home from work in the early dark one cold winter night and just deciding for no reason to walk up the hill to my apartment rather than take the bus from the ferry as I often do.  Halfway up, I came across a woman standing at the curb, looking lost.  I asked if I could help and she almost burst into tears.  She was nearly blind, knew there was a bus stop nearby, but couldn’t see to get there.  I took her hand, walked her to the stop and, since many different buses stop there, waited till the number bus she needed came along and handed her up into it.  The point is not that I did something wonderful – I didn’t – I just happened to be in the right place at the right time when I normally would not have been there and so was able to be useful.  It was an incredible gift and I think I was more grateful to have been there when needed than the woman was to have had my help.  I remember crying as I walked back up the hill, thinking, “What would she have done if I weren’t there?” – with the answer being, of course, God would have sent someone else.

It’s not the only time something similar has happened to me, this sense that there I was, minding my own business, with no expectation of doing anything, when “plunk” – a sudden moment of grace occurs.  I did something on a whim, was somewhere I wouldn’t ordinarily be, and, like Philip picked up by the Spirit and deposited in the road next to the Ethiopian’s chariot (Acts 8:26-40), found myself exactly where, unknown to me, I was meant to be.  It’s happened to my brother, too, to the extent that we have occasionally begun conversations with each other “I was ‘plunked’ again the other day.” 

To be honest, we don’t always enjoy the experience – not all “plunkings” involve something easy or convenient (in fact, relatively few of them do) – but we always understand and appreciate the gift of grace involved.  Maybe it’s not only true that “some have entertained angels unawares” but also that, once in a while, some have been angels unawares – at least temporarily.


  1. I’m always elated (at least after the fact) about being “plunked,” even if it’s not a pleasant experience in the moment. Such experiences shore up my shaky faith. Thanks for the word “plunked.” It’s useful. Your brother has been witness to my own plunking, and the fact that he understands the concept helps me understand why he was such a good, supportive companion in the circumstances.
    How was your job interview?

    • Interview went well, I think. And, yeah, I’m always elated about being “plunked” (after the fact), and grateful — and frequently exhausted, as well 🙂

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