Thursday morning I was having a rough start to my day. Tears fell while wrestling with a decision, combatting confusion, dwelling on life's disappointments, all struggles that were compounded by neglected quiet time, if the truth be told.
Early that afternoon once I finished my work for the morning I pulled myself together and readied myself to pick up the kiddos from school. Finally dressed in something other than sweats and with reapplied makeup I got in my car to leave home when I remembered I'd need more gas if I didn't want to find myself stranded along the road...and I'm not into hitch-hiking.
Sunshine filled the sky that day accompanied by near-summer temperatures. "Something to be thankful for," I thought.
As I pulled into the MAPCO near home the back of a man pumping gas caught my eye, causing me to press on the brakes to get a closer look. My eyes remained fixated on him as the tears began welling up again.
That man. His hair color and cut. His height. His build. His stance. His dark-colored plaid shirt and jeans. EVERYTHING about that man looked like my dad who passed away four years ago. I mean EVERYTHING. I slowly pulled toward the pump next to him in disbelief with an intensified desire to speak with Dad. He'd know how to brighten my day with the right words and a warm, fatherly hug.
As I began pumping my own gas, I peered through the side windows of his empty, black, 15-passenger van trying to get a better look. "Does his face look like my dad's too?" I wondered. After eyeballing him for incredibly too long I decided to walk over to him and say hello.
"Hey!" I said. "Sorry if you felt me staring at you, but I couldn't help but notice you look like my dad who passed away a few years ago. I just needed to get a better glimpse of you and say hi."
He gently smiled, like my dad would have done, as I proceeded to tell him that he was obviously younger than my dad but the resemblance was still remarkable. I'm sure he felt some relief that I didn't think he was old enough for me to be his offspring. Though I found out technically he was.
"You know," he slowly began to respond, "I'm sixty-eight now, but my dad passed away when I was twenty." He choked up a little at those words before continuing. "And I was angry at God for many years for taking my dad at such a young age. Then one day I took a close look at 2 Peter 3:8. Do you know what it says?" he asked.
Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. ~ 2 Peter 3:8
He quoted the preceding passage then asked if I was a Christian. I told him, "Yes" as he whipped out his iPhone and opened up his calculator app.
"How many years would be a good life to you?" he asked me.
Had he only known the way I felt in that moment, that I could drop dead at any minute and not care, he probably wouldn't have asked. But I mustered a grin and simply said I had lived a fulfilling life and wasn't sure. "Give me a number," he insisted.
"Another thirty years would be great," I reluctantly replied.
He then started plugging in numbers...30 divided by 1,000 multiplied by 24 plus ??? I started getting lost in his calculations. I'm not a numbers person.
"Look at this!" he joyfully exclaimed. "According to this, you'll see your dad in about 45 minutes based on Heaven's time. Have you ever thought of that?"
Well, yes, I've considered that with God there is no time and whether we die at age 8 or 80 it's a nano second compared to eternity. But I had never looked at it in light of a literal interpretation of 2Peter.
"Your dad is going to turn around and say, 'Oh, there you are!' as if you've only been out of his sight for a short while."
I thanked him for that perspective, telling him how happy I was that I had gotten to meet him then returned to my car with his words still whirling around in my head.
As I drove away there was something about that encounter that seemed Divine. I appreciated his message, that I would see Dad soon. But I think the more valuable lesson for me that I needed to hear that beautiful afternoon was that our time here is so short and that I really need to cherish it. To live like I'm going to see my dads - both my earthly and heavenly ones - in 45 minutes. To allow myself to wallow in sadness is a waste of precious time when I have so many things to be grateful for and to live for. Not sure why I need to be reminded that life is a gift, but sometimes I do. And I was thankful for the reminder that came from a total stranger that day.
After I drove off, I thought I should have snapped a picture of him - at least from behind - and glanced at his license plate. It probably said ANGL1 or HVN-SNT or something to that effect. You never know. One thing I do know is God intervenes in ways only He can when we most need Him.
Oh, and if you're wondering, the man's face slightly resembled my dad's. What are the chances?
Funny that the title "Author" appears above this description yet I have no idea what to share about myself in this space! How about my first name is Kim. My last name is Tisor. Tisor rhymes with miser, though I try not to be one.
For more information about me, please visit the author page.