We had some interesting experiences on our recent vacation but no more than through our plans to come home.
While we were in Vienna our one son decided to purchase a new skateboard. It was a fine thing for him to do as it is one of his hobbies and there are some famous skateboard companies and parks in Vienna. It is a nice memento for him from his trip.
Unfortunately we started wondering how we would transport it home. All four of us had carry-on bags. When we travel we try to avoid checking baggage (have had too many friends with stories of lost luggage.) The airlines on which we were flying were pretty strict about the weight and size of the carry-on but we were entitled to one free checked bag each. So once the board was bought, we decided that we might as well purchase the items we were contemplating but hesitant due to the carry-on packing restrictions. We might as well use at least one free checked bag. (We successfully did our travel duty- helping the economy of Florence in their leather industry through the purchase of shoes, jacket and bags.)
We decided we would purchase an extra bag for all our items or pack in a box and check that through. We looked for bags everywhere we went. We measured hard cases, soft cases, duffle bags, etc. Nothing would quite fit the skateboard. We were ready to go to a packing store and purchase or "make" a cardboard box to fit.
In the lobby of the Vienna apartment where we stayed, there was a shelf that various items would appear and disappear. We learned that this was the "free for the taking" shelf in the complex. We saw towels, maternity clothes, books, videos, stationery, unused toiletry items come and go.
On the second to last day of our stay we returned to our place and there was a duffle bag on the "free" shelf. We measured it and the skateboard fit it perfectly. Plus, the bag had wheels on one end for easier carrying. On closer inspection we realized why a perfectly good bag was for the taking- one of the zippers wouldn't close. Not to be dismayed, I got out my travel sewing kit and using all the contained thread, sewed up the broken zipper side. Then we purchased packing tape and wrapped the entire bag. It travelled through the baggage compartment beautifully.
One could say that the placement of the bag was a coincidence or just good luck or good karma. I believe it is another- a God-wink that demonstrates to me that the Divine cares about all the details in our lives. Of course this was not a necessary item. It didn't add to our basic needs but it was something that allowed us to bring home and enjoy some material things from this world.
I think that God like to do nice things like that for His children. I think He likes to give good gifts to us. In the New Testament, both Matthew and John write of Jesus saying, "If you who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him? "
What about you? Have you experienced any "coincidences" while traveling? Have you seen any God-Winks lately? What would that mean to you if God gave you a wink? Would it encourage you? Exasperate you? Annoy you? Have you ever shared those experiences with others? Too embarrassed? Too guilty? Too dismissive?
Whether you are traveling today or not, keep your eyes, mind and heart open to God's gifts, even if it is something as frivolous as a checked bag.