I'm not a huge "everything happens for a reason" person, but I do think that the universe puts the right people in our path when we need them. It's simply up to us to pay attention enough to notice.
I had one of those experiences last week.
I'd dashed out at lunchtime to run an errand and when I came back to campus, I parked in a lot that I never use. Let me be clearer. I've worked at the college for eighteen years and I remember parking there twice in that time. So, really, when I say I never park there, I mean I never park there.
More than that: the lot is in the opposite direction from all of the other lots that I usually use. It's a route that Bud and I just don't take.
Well, you get the point.
Anyway, on this particular day, I parked in that particular lot, for no reason at all.
Bud's sitter dropped him off at my office at 4:30. I'd hoped to leave at 5:00, expected to leave at 6:00, and finally found myself packing up and hauling out at quarter of seven.
As we walked across campus - two hours later than I'd intended and in the opposite direction than we walk every single day - I saw a woman holding a leash. The animal at the other end of the leash was down an embankment and hidden from my sight.
"Is that a dog, Mom?" Bud asked as we got nearer.
"I think it is, Bud," I said.
"Is that a HORSE, Mom?" he asked.
"No," I laughed. "It's not a -" And then we were close enough that I could see down the embankment. At the end of the leash, grazing on the lawn of our college campus, stood a very small horse wearing silver lamé shoes over her hooves.
"I guess it IS a horse," I said to Bud.
"Her name is Covergirl," said the woman holding the leash. "Would you like to pet her?"
"Oh, SURE!" said Bud, and he walked boldly toward the horse as I started my Bud-is-getting-close-to-an-animal litany: Gentle hands, Buddy. Please be gentle. Don't touch her eyes, Buddy.
But Covergirl's leash-holder was totally relaxed and she spoke easily and comfortably with Bud. "Covergirl is a therapy animal," she told him.
"Therapy for...?" I asked.
"Well, lots of things," she said. "She works with children and adults with autism, and with..."
"Bud has autism!" I blurted out.
Of course she knew that already.
Another friend of Covergirl's joined us then, and she engaged so quickly and so naturally with Bud that it seemed like she was an old friend.
The women asked us if we'd come to see the presentation at the church next door, which was what brought Covergirl to that particular spot on our tiny little campus, next to the lot I never use, at the end of campus where I rarely find myself, two hours after I should have been there anyway.
Ah, I thought. I see what you're doing here, Universe.
I explained that we weren't there for the presentation - that, in fact, we were headed home, much later than we'd intended. But I asked them for their contact information and I told them we'd be in touch.
We went home and pulled up their website. Bud found pictures of Covergirl "and her whole family." We're printing the doctor's release form so that Bud's pediatrician can fill it out and then we're booking a visit.
Because, really, when the universe speaks that clearly, you really have to pay attention.
No matter what form the universe takes.