Divine Intervention!

Divine intervention is the involvement (intervention) of a deity (divine) in the affairs of humans. Its form can be direct, such as the actual visual or auditory manifestation of a deity to humans, and indirect, such as a deity’s influence on weather. In the Christian religion, visions and miracles are often considered forms of divine intervention, with believers feeling they’ve appeared in the midst of a crisis or in response to prayers.

https://www.dictionary.com/e/religion/divine-intervention/

I’ve been subject to divine intervention throughout my life, starting with my birth. I decided that the perfect time to join humanity was during Hurricane David. My father rushed us to the hospital in a Volkswagen Rabbit, driving around downed limbs and power lines to literally – deliver me to safety. Nobody’s driving a Volkswagen through a hurricane without God.

Later on in life, I’d been involved in a hit and run accident while riding my bicycle through downtown Warwick. I was tossed from my bike, landed on the back of my head, and after a short, gibberish filled recovery time walked away with a skull fracture. I thought I looked dumb in my helmet, so I didn’t wear it. God had other plans.

So many instances where I scraped by through dangerous situations nearly unscathed, or things just happened to work out in my favor. Unexplained coincidences. Divine intervention. Even before I acknowledged Him and accepted Christ, He was working and moving through my life. Once He shows me what to do, I do it, I don’t question it.

That doesn’t mean however, that I cannot go off the rails from time to time.

Since the Summer, I’ve been working on a plan to relocate to Georgia. At this start of this month, the process began in earnest with me listing my current home for sale and searching for a new home down south. Now from the start, in a whisper, God has been telling me to be patient. This came through thoughts, words, and the actions of others around me.

Still, I pushed on. After finding several homes in my price range, and subsequently losing them because I didn’t get a chance to remotely view them, I got more than a little aggravated. I reached out to some realtors, lit some fires, and in short order I was touring a few homes via Zoom. After a string of homes that didn’t work for me, I landed one that at first glance, did.

After the remote showing, I planned to put in an offer… but then another I’d looked at previously just had its price dropped. I checked it out. In my opinion, it was a perfect fit. Brick ranch. Near an acre of property. Rural. So I put in an offer. The seller passed and accepted a higher offer. A whole lot of excitement fell flat, rapidly.

Back to the list. I started going through my B roll. All the properties which did not exactly match what I wanted, or were near the top of my comfortable price range. I recall one property which checked nearly every single box, but we had to jump through a handful of hoops to customize our offer in a way to get the sellers attention. It was ridiculous.

When I got the contract to sign, I saw the disclosure sheet. Termites. No way I’m jumping through this many hoops in the hope that they will accept my offer, only to deal with a possible ongoing termite issue. Now the original home, back in Marietta that was to be my first offer was still up for sale. The price had recently dropped, and even after an open house, no buyers.

It was a “fully renovated” 1946 Bungalow style home on a half acre of property in a subdivision. The commute time to my new office was under an hour, and from my recollection of Marietta – close enough to places I was familiar with from my previous trip there. It wasn’t a perfect match, but come Hell or high water, I was going to Georgia!

I put in an offer. It was accepted. I had an explosion of anxiety in my chest that I hadn’t felt in years. All of a sudden my confidence faded and I was rapidly approaching panic. So I stopped and I prayed. I thanked God for the opportunity that He has provided me, and asked that if it is in His will, that it happens – and if not, that it be impossible to achieve. The fear faded.

So a slight snag in the plan, I had to work that weekend. Had I not, I’d likely have planned the trip down a little better, but instead I pushed myself. I pushed myself harder than I have in a very long time to make this work. I finished my job at 7pm, threw my suitcase in the car, and started a 900 mile, 16 hour journey south. Google Maps said about 13 hours. Well…

I set the destination in my GPS and go. About an hour into the drive, I’m not feeling too hot. A bit of a dry cough. Figure it’s just my air freshener allergy and toss mine. About 2 hours in I stop in NJ for fuel and some beef jerky (road trip necessities). I did alright through Delaware and Maryland… My first hiccup was on I-85S in Virginia where the interstate was blocked off.

Delaware around 10:30pm…
Driving under Baltimore Harbor around 11:30pm…

I continued on into Virginia, had my first hiccup due to a highway closure off I-85 south. I followed the line of cars and trucks to the offramp as we all hung a left. GPS showed me no clear way to get around the blockage so I turned around and went back. Turned out the closure was just at that exit, I could have simply crossed the road and returned to I-85.

All in all I think I did alright until South Carolina. As I’m driving south on I-85, a dark, desolate, tree-lined highway – I blink. My car is in the next lane. That was weird.

I keep driving. I blink. My car is in the middle of the road. Crap. I’m dozing off. There’s a rest stop 5 miles ahead. I roll down all my windows and the cold air irritates me enough that I make it. I stop the car, set my phone alarm for 15 minutes, and proceed to black out. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP, I’m awake, rejuvenated. I step out into the 30F night for some air.

I’m on the road again. Occasionally crossing paths with some traffic. I’m a little stunned at how many other drivers at this time of night see my car and expect me to be in a racing mood. Not happening. After about an hour I start to drift again. Damn. Windows down. Rest stop. Power nap. Walk in the fresh and very cold air. On the road again. Rinse and repeat.

Daylight comes as I’m still navigating through South Carolina, I stop and take my usual meds, top off the tank, stretch the legs, and go. I’m now rejuvenated thanks to the daylight and find myself very excited when a small, unassuming sign welcomes me to Georgia. I’d made it. Just a couple hours to go and I’d be at the house where the home inspector was already at work.

10:00am entering Georgia…

I pull in to the driveway, now seeing first hand what I’d only seen over the Internet or a remote video stream. It’s a nice looking house, with a good sized lot (half acre). The lot is covered with the needles of longleaf pine trees, so thick the underlying yard is not visible. The concrete paths are cleared and excess swept up against the foundation of the home. Still, not bad.

12:00pm, the first house

The inspector arrives and I’m able to take a tour of the home. It has been near completely renovated. Appliances, floors, ceilings, walls, electric, plumbing, etc… There’s a closet off the master bedroom big enough to be an office / game room. Boxes are being checked rapidly. The inspector prepares to investigate the crawl space, so I decide to take a walk around the block.

All the homes are newer construction, bi-level raised ranches and bigger. The neighborhood is quiet and dotted with “Neighborhood Watch” signs. Ok, I’m being watched, not a big deal. I see a few people about but don’t have any conversations. One guy sitting in a car outside a house looks at me, shakes his head, and closes his car’s window. Ok then.

All in all, not a bad neighborhood. Crowded though, to me at least. I’m used to open space, quiet days and nights, and great neighbors who are close – but not too close. Outside the secluded neighborhood is Marietta, a suburb of Atlanta which while it has some nice areas – reminds me a lot of the crowded turmoil of NYC suburbs. Death by a thousand concessions.

I return to the property as the inspector finishes up. He proceeds to show me everything that he has found. Termites. Rodents. Foundation issues. Plumbing issues. Roofing issues. Drainage issues. Sulfur water (lived with that for 7 years). Septic issues. I was already regretting my decision and planning to back out of the deal during the due diligence phase.

After a conversation with the realtor, we decided to update the offer with a requirement that the seller repair and resolve all identified issues before we proceed with the sale. I went back to my hotel, had some dinner, and got some much needed rest. All the while, this cold is still working on me. I’m popping Mucinex and Sudafed. Thankfully, no fever or other symptoms.

Tuesday comes along, the paperwork is still in play as I decide to explore the area. I need to pick up some things (Georgia Bulldogs hoodie, a new pocket knife as I’d left mine at home, more meds, etc…) I also decided to check out the area supermarkets. I didn’t really care for Lidl, but Kroger and Publix were both pretty good. So much traffic. So many people.

I stopped briefly in Marietta Square to grab a coffee at Cool Beans and walk around, it’d been years since I walked through with an old friend. I was thrilled to see a “Happy Birthday Jesus” sign hanging openly in the park. That brought me some much needed peace as I worked to make sense of this path I was on. All the while, I’m thanking God and praying for guidance.

Marietta Square on a gray morning…

Later that day, the rain began to clear and I decided to see what sort of entertainment there was to be had. In my specific case, I was looking for a pinball arcade. That lead me to Kennesaw, GA and Portal Pinball. Not only did I get to cut loose and relax while playing on some modern and classic tables, I got to see the GA state champion work on his Twitch stream.

In the mean time, I’d gotten another alert on my phone for a property in Canton, GA. 1,000 square foot brick ranch on 2.6 acres of land, corner lot, for $25k less than the Marietta home I wasn’t sure about. Come Wednesday around lunch, I drive over and I am knocked backwards by how much I liked the place. Yes, it needed quite a bit of work but all I saw was potential.

In the least, it needed a new roof, some new sheetrock, and a few other updates to make it livable. The property though… I walked out onto the back deck and saw a view that made my jaw drop. Also on the property was a massive 75 foot long barn, another smaller barn in a partial state of collapse, trees, meadows, it was BEAUTIFUL. I could see myself sitting on the deck, sipping a coffee, and just relaxing.

Huge. Property. That’s the view from the deck, and it goes all the way back to the tree line (squint).

Then Rocky showed up.

Out of the blue, I’m standing there with the realtor and see a stereotypical “good ol boy” walking up. Heavy southern accent, very friendly. He asks if I was there to buy the property, and then proceeds to explain that he used to live there, and point out every single issue he knew of with the property. Now here you might have expected my heart to sink, it didn’t.

The conversation continued for a bit as he explained the poisoned well, the leaky roof, the nosey neighbors and wealthy folks on the ridge who enjoyed launching golf balls towards the house. Rocky proceeded to walk off into the old barn and I continued checking the property out. This property checked every single box and I finally knew what I wanted.

But, God.

He knew I needed to slow down. He knew I needed to be patient. He knew that He’d have to drop a “coincidence” in my lap to shift my perspective and realize that He was answering my prayers as only He could. In that conversation, I realized that I should not be settling for the less than perfect fit which was Marietta, so I backed out. I also walked from the Canton home.

Now I knew what I wanted though, sure enough. I wanted Pine Island, but in Georgia. Wherever God brought me next, in His time, would be the right place. After speaking with my Mom, she pointed out that this was clearly divine intervention. There is no such thing as coincidence, Samuel! Now I couldn’t exactly slow down just yet though (well, I could have).

So until this point I’d planned to stick around until Thursday, then hit the road at the end of my work day. After the disappointment / affirmation that transpired over the past few days, I wanted nothing more than to stretch out on my couch and relax in a familiar place. So around 5pm on Wednesday, 12/22 – I checked out of my hotel, topped off my tank, and hit the road.

I played it (mostly) smarter this time. Less of a rush, more time during breaks to stretch my legs, clear the cobwebs, and ready myself for the next 300 mile stretch between fuel breaks. I popped a dose of Mucinex before I left and off I was. This time I also played an audio book (which I need to finish) – “The Many Friends of Eddie Coyle” – it’s what inspired the author of “Fire In The Hole” which inspired the TV series Justified. Anyways.

I was pretty solid as far as staying conscious and focused until I started winding through I-81N in PA. I started drifting a bit and got off the road fast to clear the cobwebs for the final stretch. I pulled into my driveway around 7:30am, started a pot of coffee, took a shower, and readied myself for my final day of work before Christmas. It was a little rough, but I did it.

13 hours of drive time in roughly 6 minutes. 🙂

So Christmas Eve comes, still popping my Mucinex to keep the congestion at bay after a solid 12 hours of much needed sleep… I wake up and proceed to make a few loaves of bread, one for my ex wife and kids whom I’ll be having dinner with later, and another for my friend’s Christmas Eve party afterwards. I’m fine through dinner… around 9pm I head to the party.

At this point I’m fading fast. I still have yet to make up my lost sleep, so I think I lasted about a half hour before I headed back to the house. Getting ready for bed I look down into the sink and before I know it, blood is absolutely pouring out of my nose. What the deuce?! I haven’t had a nosebleed in 30 years. I grab some paper towel, sit down and pinch my nostrils.

30 minutes later, it stops. I clean up the mess and go to bed. Next morning I get up, pop my Mucinex (are you sensing a theme yet) and get ready for the day. Christmas with my family upstate, which I am absolutely looking forward to. I step into the bathroom to well, do what one does in a bathroom, and again, blood is gushing out of my nose.

30 minutes later, it stops. I clean up the mess and call my mom. I’m not going to make it to Christmas dinner, I’m not sure why I am getting these nose bleeds, but I don’t want the red sea to flow while I’m doing 65mph in my car. I make it most of the day without any issue, hoping that I’ve seen the last of it. Annoyed that I’ve missed the event. Then I look down and boom.

This time I jam some toilet paper up my nose and drive to the hospital. I get there, one ambulance is leaving as another is pulling in. Not sure what is going on but there’s an entire family there, and one woman who was very annoyed by me sitting down near her. I check in and wait. I fire up my phone and start to search for the side effects of my medication.

My brother shows up and sits with me for a bit, and I decide my nose bleed doesn’t trump whatever else was going on that night to keep the short-staffed triage busy. I check out without being checked out, and decide to stop taking any OTC medication. No more Sudafed (not for the past 2 days at least) and no more Mucinex.

As it turned out, the 12 hour Mucinex DM which I’d been popping like tic-tacs for the past 4 days had some side effects I’d never hit before. One of which was “easy bleeding” and the other was “elevated blood pressure.” Now the Sudafed had done its job, which also included drying out my sinuses to a point that my humidifier was just a band-aid. In short, my nose was a time-bomb.

My blood pressure which normally runs about 105/75 was 150/85 for that last bleed. Perfect storm of me pushing myself too hard, stressing myself out, and driving my body to the point where matter overpowered mind while the meds I was taking to alleviate my cold symptoms drove the last nail in. Yesterday, no more bleeds, thank God. Today I had a minor one which quickly clotted back up.

I just need to be careful with leaning forward and looking down, apparently that’s the perfect combination. I need to slow down, relax, and let my body heal. I’m pretty much over the cold now. I’m also taking a break from the Georgia project until after the new year. God’s orders.

So the moral of the story here is…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

That is not to say there will be no moments in my life, or yours, where we will not invest blood, sweat, and tears into some project or goal. However, Christ has taught us that the struggle is not necessary, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. If it becomes too difficult, ask yourself, is this really what God has planned for you?

Stop and listen to Him, He will make His presence known, He will provide, and if necessary – He will directly intervene in your life in undeniable ways to help steer you back to the path which He has willed for you.

So here I am… I haven’t looked at a real estate listing for several days… Hopefully I’ll listen more, speak less, act less, and see what God has in store for me next. Until then, I’m taking a breather. Happy New Year, folks.

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