On a recent visit to Oxford, UK, my wife and I were walking down a street. We used to live there, but moved away 12 years ago. During our visit, we saw a number of friends and enjoyed our time very much. It was the last evening before our departure the next morning. I decided that I wanted traditional bangers and mash from a pub for my last supper in England. So, we began our quest.
One pub after another did not have bangers and mash. Some had a new menu and didn’t include it. One pub had a fire in their kitchen the day before and were not serving food. Another had closed the kitchen early for unknown and unexplained reason. Several were so full of students that we quickly left.
We started at the Head of the River and kept working our way north. Some of the stops included the Bear, Mitre, Red Lion, several on George St, and a few more. Finally, we reached the Eagle and Child. It was the pub nearest our old flat and they served us a nice meal including my bangers and mash.
Our walk back was much later than we expected. This is where we encountered a providential stroke of good luck.
We knew before our trip that we would not be able to see everyone. So, we had not arranged to see one of my old friends. As we walked, who should we see walking in the opposite direction? My old friend! In a city of over 100k people, on a crowded sidewalk, on a random Wednesday evening, what were the chances?
The three of us went into yet another pub and enjoyed catching up. It was as if we left off only yesterday.
Friendship is a gift from God. Occasionally, the stars seem to align and offer unexpected opportunities. Is God intervening in the minor moments of our lives? Or, was our quest for bangers and mash and circuitous route a happenstance to make our path cross my friend’s? I don’t know.
Whether God intervened or we were just lucky, I am blessed by my friends and give God my thanks.