This, along with the next two posts, were God-Incidences that I fully intended to post earlier, but time and writer’s procrastination got the best of me. After my near miss yesterday morning driving my car, I felt compelled to write and post that God-Incidence right away. Even though that put these next three out of sequence on the blog, it doesn’t diminish their impact.
On October 26, 2008, I returned to the site of my Cursillo for a reunion of sorts called Ultreya. There were many past Cursistas there, both men and women. A few days before the Ultreya, I got a phone call from one of the leaders from my weekend. He asked me if I would be willing to give a witness of my experience of the weekend and the aftermath. I agreed.
At the time, I hadn’t yet given thought to the creation of this blog, but at some point over those next few days of reviewing my experience, I recalled the discussion at our table of No Coincidences with God. I was also still amazed with my experience of running into Brandon just after my Cursillo weekend. I knew that I had to share that with the group, but I also began to wonder if I should try to share my experiences with a wider audience.
So what started out as brainstorming for ideas to share with a roomful of people, turned into a full fledged blogging idea. I have Ron to thank for inspiring me to create this blog through asking me to speak to the group. So if any of my comments or insight in this blog inspires any of its readers to take closer notice of or share their own God-Incidences with others, they have Ron to thank for it, not me.
At Ultreya two of us were invited to share with the larger group, myself, and Pat who had just lived the women’s Cursillo weekend about two weeks after mine. Pat spoke first and gave an emotional witness that brought many in the room to tears. I have often envied those who are able to move others to tears by their words as well as those who are able to be moved to tears themselves. I fall into neither circle. (For another compelling display of the abundant blessings in those tremendous gifts, watch this short video of Jim Valvano giving his famous Don’t Ever Give Up speech at the 1993 Espy Awards).
When Pat finished her witness it was my turn. I basically told the story that you can read in my November 10, 2008 blog post. In fact, the post itself is just a revision of the notes I used for my witness. While I didn’t move anyone to tears, I did manage to touch a number of people and make them think about their own experiences. I also found the God-Incidence term.
When I was finished, Pat came over to speak with me. She told me that there was another God-Incidence that I wasn’t even aware of. Her maiden name is Lucas and she hinted that there might be some connection there. You would think that I would push aside any doubt, given the detail of my witness, but even after talking for twenty minutes about there being no coincidences with God, I still chalked the common name up to coincidence.
My reasoning was reasonable (or so I thought). Although my last name is Lucas, that is an Americanized spelling from the old Slovak spelling. I have great interest in genealogy, but have very little information on my own surname beyond my grandfather who was born in the old country. The LUCAS name is actually pretty common in Ohio and elsewhere, but most that I have ever encountered are of English descent and have used that spelling for generations. And as far as I knew, there weren’t any cousins living in this area of Ohio. (Only to find out later from my parents that my grandfather did spend some time in the Cleveland area with close friends or family early in his life).
So when Pat informed me of her maiden name, I simply assumed she was one of the many unrelated Lucas clans originating from England or elsewhere. But something made me go back over to her later and ask her about her ethnic background. I learned that she was of Slovak descent and that her ancestors spelled the name differently (VERY close to how my own grandfather spelled his name).
We chatted for a good while. We weren’t able to find an immediate connection, but I still have to wonder if that wasn’t the biggest God-Incidence of all. Another of Pat’s relatives was the family historian, but she was very ill at the time. I didn’t want to press the issue being sensitive to her healthy recovery. I hope that wasn’t a mistake as I saw an obituary a few months later for a Lucas in the area. Recalling that Pat’s family historian was gravely ill in October, I hoped that this wasn’t her.
I need to send her another note to see if there is someone I can talk to about potential family ties. Even if I’ve lost my chance, I am now open to the reality that I may find other distant family out there where I once believed to be a brick wall.