Trusting to Providence

It’s time for my Sunday Reflection, in which I post some of my thoughts on almost any issue connected to writing, faith or life in general.

One of the classic moments in Huck Finn comes when the two con men, the King and the Duke, attribute to Providence the opportunity to scam some trusting orphans. It’s a moment where Twain’s mastery of irony shines through beautifully.

In my novel, The Raft, The River and The Robot, I take a very different approach to the notion of trusting to Providence, one that’s a little less ironic. Only, sometimes in reality, actually trusting to Providence is hard to do. So, as part of my Sunday reflection, I’d like to share some of the signs of Providence I’ve observed this past week or so with my recent ACL surgery.

The day before my surgery, I got a call from a medical rep who is hoping to do some future business with my surgeon. Long story short, he was offering me the use of a cold therapy machine for my recovery. It’s a new machine that also has compression sleeves to work calf muscles and help avoid DVT. Oh, and using the machine would cost me nothing. What’s more, it is mine to keep. Providence.

The day of my surgery I got a ride home with Dr. Mike Koller. We’ve been friends for twenty years, and over the years he’s offered his medical expertise to us many times free of charge, and now twice in the last two months, he’s been there for me post-surgery. It’s great when you’re groggy from the meds and the surgical center has moved your right on out to keep the assembly line going to have a Dr. going over the post-surgical instructions with you. Providence.

Later in the week, not yet cleared to drive but needing to make an appointment to get my physical therapy, a friend from out of town who is here visiting family offered to go with me. I called my PT knowing odds were pretty good they would not have an open spot during the window he could take me – my PT is very good & very busy – and yet they had an appointment at the optimum time. Providence.

There are a bunch of other examples I could mention, but those will suffice to illustrate some of the ways I felt looked after this past week by the Hand of Providence. Now, I know many don’t believe in Providence, and they might point out that Providence might have been kinder by preserving my ACL in the first place. It is certainly true, that in reflecting on Providence, we can’t just list good things that happen to us and conveniently ignore the trials we endure.

So, let me be clear that I believe the Hand of Providence is often at work in our trials as much as in our blessings. We learn a great deal through hardship and difficulty, and sometimes when the darkness comes, we can’t understand why. Sometimes we see reasons and blessings about our sufferings later, and sometimes we never do. Nevertheless, I believe the events in our lives – both good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant – are not a meaningless string of randomness. Consequently, I see that in the difficult road I’ve been walking the past few months with my knee, I have not been alone, but Providence has provided many things in many ways for me – and I am grateful.