Divine Appointments

I am walking along the Mississippi River near my home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After dithering around in my house in full procrastination mode for several hours, I am finally outside and moving in the chill November afternoon. Suddenly I hear a woman sobbing… loudly…and see her walking right toward me on the path.

My first thought is, “Good for you, Sister! Let ‘er rip!” I decide right away to offer witness and support for the bold tears of that brave stranger. As I draw closer, I recognize the woman as a beloved friend. As soon as she sees who is coming up to her, laughter mixes into her tears. Still crying, she keeps repeating, “Oh my God! You’re an angel!” Then she falls into my arms and cries out her storm of grief. When she is finished, she tells me about her grief as we continue our walk together.

My 92-year-old mother would call this a “divine appointment.” It’s an ideal description of that experience of running into just the perfect person at the perfect time. Is it just me or are those divine appointments happening more frequently?

Just yesterday I was out on that same path again. I’d lollygagged around my house procrastinating and puttering just like I did months ago. I recognized a woman walking toward me as someone I’d met out in the world somewhere. She stopped and said, “Barbara, I can’t believe you’re here!”

Here we go again.

That morning she’d gone on Facebook (which she swears she never ever does) and read my blog post about grief. She told me that her mom had died recently and that the grieving was challenging. Something in what I’d written helped her….and just a few hours later, here I was.

So there’s a double divine appointment. One – she goes on Facebook just in time to read my post in the feed. Two – we run into each other on the river path. She confessed that she’d been postponing her walk for hours as well. I told her about “divine appointments” and told her the story of running into my sobbing friend on that very path.

Still awestruck and grateful for that connection, I went to the grocery store for a few things. You’ll never guess who I found in the produce section. Yep. The weeping woman. Her. I hadn’t seen her in the months since I encountered her on the river path.

This time it was my turn to say, “Oh, my God! You’re an angel!” I told her about “divine appointment” that had just happened on the river path. One thing led to another and before we parted ways, we had decided to attend a weeklong singing workshop together next summer.

Heaven knows who we’ll run into there!

If you have a good “divine appointment” story, I’d love to hear it!



About Barbara McAfee

Barbara is a voice coach, singer/songwriter, keynote speaker, and author who merges lessons from 12 years in organization development with the transformational power of sound. Her book, Full Voice: The Art & Practice of Vocal Presence (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) was a #1 Amazon bestseller in Business Communication. The book is based on her 25 years as a voice coach, supporting people from many professions in learning how to access the full power and expression of the voice in service to their work and relationships. Barbara’s musical keynotes blend practical content, sophisticated humor, and thought-provoking questions on topics including voice, leadership, and engagement. She was “the band” for Margaret Wheatley’s Women’s Leadership Revival Tour, which visited 15 North American cities. She also appears with authors Parker Palmer and Peter Block. Barbara has produced seven CD's of mostly original music and is founder of the Morning Star Singers, a volunteer hospice choir in the Twin Cities. She lives across the street from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
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7 Responses to Divine Appointments

  1. Walt G. says:

    Great story! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Bruce O'Brien says:

    I Love this! Divine Appointments. There’s a powerful metaphor there about that “river path”.

  3. Avril says:

    Wonderful story, Barbara. And yes to Divine Appointments.

    I’m thinking back a couple of years to when I decided I needed to get out of my house after spending several hours in (you guessed it) full procrastination mode and figured a little walk would shake things up. I took my journal with me, thinking I would park myself in a cafe and write for awhile, which would make me feel at least minimally productive. I headed up Main St. a couple of blocks and found myself dithering over my choice of cafe. One cafe promised good coffee, but I decided I was more in the mood for tea. I started to head across the road to Shaktea (a tea house), then stopped in my tracks and thought, “Well, what about the honey shop?” Needless to say, I never go to the honey shop except to buy honey and leave, but that afternoon (after bobbing back and forth on the sidewalk for several minutes) I decided that’s where I would go.

    I ordered my tea, sat down at one of their rickety tables, pulled out my journal, and proceeded to write. My mind was full of Avi, the guy I had met a couple of months before and had gone out with a couple of times. There seemed to be an embryonic romance blossoming between us, and I was writing about this in my journal as I sipped my tea. As I wrote, I amused myself with daydreams (as I do), and let myself imagine how interesting it would be if Avi just happened to walk by and glance into the shop and see me there. It wasn’t impossible – he lives in the neighbourhood and shops on Main St., so maybe…

    A minute later, the door to the shop jingled its bell as someone walked in. I looked up – and burst out laughing. You guessed it. It was Avi.

    We are still together.

    XOXO Avril

  4. Kitas McKnight says:

    Love the thought of you attending a vocal workshop, as opposed to being the expert navigator of your own. Also love the thought of being a fellow participant with you…what a hoot!

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