We have all heard the expression “Accidents happen”, but do they? Is it possible that accidents have a much bigger purpose and happen for a reason? A week ago I might have received an answer to this long held question.
For those of you that don’t know, I spend a good deal of my time in the hospitality industry and, in particular, food and catering. It was at a recent catering event when I encountered a huge accident that became a blessing in disguise.
It was right before the event was to begin when I received a call from my husband John. He has recently started to mentor a young twelve-year-old boy that, for the purpose of this story, I will call Billy. John called to tell me they had gone to dinner and asked if I needed anything. I said no, but suggested that they stop by my event and grab some cookies for dessert, which they did. This one phone call changed the whole trajectory of the evening for John and Billy.
But first, imagine a beautiful building with a large entrance way featuring cathedral ceilings and a tile floor. In this beautiful, grand lobby sits a table with cheese trays and cookie platters. Now imagine three large glass drink dispensers holding 9 gallons of water, ice and fresh fruit, made up of strawberries, lemons and oranges that turned ordinary ice water into tasty fruit-infused cold beverages.
Now imagine hearing all three of these glass dispensers simultaneously crash on the tile floor.
When I turned to look, I saw 9 gallons of water, ice, and fresh fruit, along with shards of glass in the center of the room, spreading on
the floor for all the guests to see. My heart sank and I made an audible gasp.
My husband and young Billy, who just stopped by to grab a cookie, just happened to be there at the exact moment of this messy mishap and jumped right into action helping us clean it up.
We quickly discovered there was not much in the way of cleaning tools that could help us pick up this colossal mess of water, ice, glass and fruit, but John used some quick thinking and got creative with some cardboard which helped scoop up the glass, ice and fruit. Then someone said they had towels in their car and that went a long way in soaking up the water.
It was a huge task and many people ran to aid in the clean up. Some grabbed paper towels while others located brooms and a mop in other areas and all worked hard at trying to contain the water and glass to keep it from spreading deeper into the rest of the lobby. In short, a lot of hard work and creative efforts went into the clean up, and when the work was done and the last bit of water and glass was gone, the gravity of the situation and the humiliation that I felt hit me like a ton of bricks, and I started to cry.
I decided it was better for me to be alone. I just had to leave. I could not face everyone. I had to have myself a good cry and wallow in self pity.
As I was leaving, John and Billy saw me and decided I was in need of their company. So we all came back to the kitchen and did what I do best- cook food. Together, we made 12 pans of lasagna.
While we were prepping and cooking, John was cracking jokes. He had Billy laughing and sometimes they laughed at my expense. It was all good hearted humor and quite frankly it was just what I needed to get my mind off of what happened earlier.
During all of this, Billy told us about a relative of his who has cancer and is in the hospital. He was worried about her and said she is his best friend.
At that moment I felt a little ashamed of my act of self pity over some broken glass and water and I tried to put aside my humiliation and remind myself that there are big problems and there are small problems. Mine definitely fell into the later.
The night went on with lots of laughter and I could tell Billy was really enjoying himself, but it wasn’t until we dropped him off that I realized just how much this evening of cooking and laughing had meant to him.
As we parted, Billy turned to us and said, “This was the best night of my life.”
To think, if John and Billy weren’t there during my worst catering mishap, Billy might not have had the best night of his life.
It makes me wonder if what we consider an accident is really part of God’s bigger plan.
I was humbled beyond words by Billy and decided if it took me destroying a few glass dispensers and humiliating myself to help give him the best night of his life, then it was all worth it. After all accidents happen, don’t they? Life is Mysterious.