..... That what you have done on a Saturday morning is to volunteer for I Love To Read! month at a local mall by offering to spend a half hour reading to anybody's children who happen to show up with ears on.
But that's not it at all.
You did drive through a snowstorm in really poor visibility with a bag full of books, and you had every intention of reading to those children. You did make it to the mall without loss of life or limb. You did make your way to the center, and settle into a comfy wicker chair and wait the arrival of the youngsters.
But that's really not who came.
And that's really not why you came.
There was an entirely different appointment that had been set up, independent of the Arts Council, I Love to Read Month, or humans in general.
As I sat in that chair with my bag of books, I was relieved to be away from home for a change, and content to watch the local world walk by. Three women walked by, then paused, looked back and me, and spoke to one another. One of the women turned from the others, approached , and introduced herself to me.
Thus began the dialogue that convinced me again of God's goodness, of the intricate and layered nature of life and relationships, and of the beauty that can come of pain and vulnerability.
This stranger and I had shared one of life's bittersweet and complex experiences, but had not known one another. But we now resonated. We knew the complexities of love and hate coexisting. We knew the pain of their push and pull. We knew the sting of rejection; the ache for recognition, validation, the burn of inferiority.
And in that "chance" meeting of prior strangers, so much was validated and redeemed.
Something was confirmed and encouraged in us, and we were strangers no more.
So, sometimes when life doesn't go the way you had planned; just look between the layers. It may not be at all about what you sometimes think.
(I read one book to one child, and drove home in even worse visibility. And it was worth every minute.)