Before I get to the good part, I have to lament for just a minute. I think I strained my left pectoral muscle. This morning I suddenly woke up to a great deal of pain stretching from my sternum and left breast up to my collar bone and stretching over to my left arm is SO sore. I've been using my heating pad, and that has helped. But wow. I'm guessing it's from being sick all weekend and the strain it took on my muscles. I just pray it relaxes soon. It's disconcerting to have pain that feels like it's inside your breast when it's really from your muscles and tendons. So it's more rest for me now that teaching is done for the day.
But anyway, on to what I wanted to write about. I had a God-driven encounter today. I finished teaching and was driving home afterward when I suddenly turned in to a parking lot and decided to try a restaurant that I've passed every work day for the last 7 months but had never tried. I thought it was a fast food-ish pita place, based on the name. It turned out to be a sit-down restaurant.
Now, I normally don't eat in sit-down restaurants by myself. I feel awkward and out of place and I'd rather eat at home. But I was so hungry and the food on the menu (pitas, Mediterranean platters, chicken schwarma, gyros, etc.) all sounded delicious. So I went in, sat and ordered, and eventually ate an absolutely delicious chicken pita sandwich with garlic potatoes on the side.
I noticed that a particular woman was staring at me as she left the place, but didn't think much of it. About 10 minutes later, though, when I was getting ready to leave, I noticed one of my former TAs sitting on the other side of the room with his young daughter. So I went over to talk to him.
While our conversation wasn't spiritual in nature, I'm still convinced that God led me there so I could talk with him. Things have been changing rapidly in the department here, with the university choosing to "disestablish" the PhD program - in which he is a first-year student. I had been quite worried about him and his family since I heard the news. God gave me the opportunity to talk to him about what the faculty have been saying, what some of his options are within the state at the other state universities, and about resources that I have at my former university that might be helpful for him.
We ended up talking for something like an hour, and when it was time for me to go, he said that he was so thankful because his own advisor hasn't really sat down with him and talked with him in that way.
Again, I know this wasn't about spiritual things, but I feel strongly that God had me go to a place I've ignored for 7 months so I could be of some help to him and his family. It turns out that the woman who stared at me is his wife - she had wanted to meet me, but was at risk of being late for a meeting at work, so she didn't introduce herself.
I just hope that things work out for them. Things are so uncertain these days. But I'm glad that God led me even when I wasn't expecting it. :-)