Open Road Press

Coincidental Has Become Commonplace

War Room Invasion

“Hey! Is this restaurant open?” inquired a portly, middle-aged gentleman who was sporting a wireless headset for the cellphone he had just deposited into his shirt pocket. He had just abruptly broken the silence as he barged into the room. He was followed several feet behind by “his better (and quieter) half.”

“No, but you can get yourself a bowl of Cheerios,” I retorted, pointing to the half-full dispenser on the other side of the room.

Debbie and I had begun our post-breakfast ritual in the otherwise empty room. We’ve adopted this space as our living area when we’re not in our hotel room. It was formerly a restaurant situated just off the hotel’s lobby. It now serves as the continental breakfast area for hotel guests. We’ve been devoted patrons as we replenish our fuel stocks in hopeful anticipation of a return to the road.

War RoomThe room has also doubled as our office for the past week, where we’ve connected with people online and created content that helps tell the story of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014 and the organization it is designed to help. You could think of this room as our backoffice “war room,” where we do battle to motivate people and ultimately to effect change in the lives of young people in crisis. We’ve called doctors, sent news releases, written blog posts, studied maps, and pitched emails from this room in efforts to make our fundraising thermometer rise. And anyone who ventures into our war room after breakfast hours has invaded our space!

Another Coincidence?

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“Have you ever seen one of these?” asked the man as he thrust his cellphone toward our table. Pictured on his iPhone was an unmistakable funnel cloud…the kind you see on The Weather Channel. “This was just last night on my property outside our home.”

His wife now moved toward the table, too. I noticed she was carrying a folder with the word “Cargill” on it, which heightened my antennae. Inside were materials from a seminar that the couple had attended on Wednesday. Cargill is an agricultural conglomerate with a sizeable hedging business. It soon became apparent they had landed in Sioux City for business reasons. They were a farming tandem.

“Do you hedge your price risk?” I asked.

It had happened again. Coincidental has become commonplace…all too coincidental and all too commonplace. I had just begun to proofread the chapter entitled “Weather” in a soon-to-be-released ebook that I’ve written entitled Hedging Commodity Price Risk: A Small Business Perspective.

The couple sat down and we chatted about their storm-chasing activity of the prior evening, Midwestern weather, Cargill’s pitch to increase their profits, and some of the logistics and risks pertaining to a corn and soybean farming operation. They’ve had little to no experience with hedging, but were obviously investigating it further. These good folks were from South Dakota, so we found plenty in common to discuss, since we had just crossed the state by bicycle. Not even their empty stomachs would get in the way of our instant connection.

Eventually, they had to leave for their follow-up meeting at Cargill’s office. Before they left, I shared a business card and a card for TheHopeLine Tour, along with a brief explanation of TheHopeLine itself.

“Contact me and I’ll send you a copy of the book,” I told them. Then, they were gone.

Too Coincidental

Soon, I asked Debbie, “What are the odds those two people would stumble into this room with two topics of such common interest: hedging commodity price risk and concerns about tornados?” Debbie nodded and smiled in complete agreement. We’ve both been itching to get back on our bicycles. At this point, we’re wondering why we’re not miles south in Missouri…or miles east in Massachusetts, for that matter. But, here we sit, in Sioux City, Iowa, with a stubborn injury…and a stubborn resolve to get on with things, to finish what we started and what we feel called to do for the benefit of young people in need.

Isn’t it interesting when God designs these impromptu meetings that leave you with no doubt He arranged them? When you encounter them on a regular basis, coincidental has become commonplace. I find it even more interesting when I come away from these meetings asking: “God, what was that all about?” I wonder if the other party knows the answer to that question, and whether they sensed that our chance encounter was not really chance at all.

On the one hand, Debbie and I have the comfort of knowing that God is with us; on the other hand, we are often left wondering what He is up to. Yet, it’s a secure and adventurous journey that we’re on, and we can’t wait to find out what, or who, is around the next corner!

2 thoughts on “Coincidental Has Become Commonplace

  1. nancy downey

    I just love the way you two get to meet people and instantly find a way to connect. It is amazing but guess life is always kind of coincidental with things that turn out to be to our advantage. And hopefully with this couple, to their advantage. I am praying for the rest of your trip, weather, Deb’s leg problem, safe roads, etc. Quite honestly from my standpoint, I can’t wait to hear you are back in Marlboro safe and sound. I love you, Mom

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