Friday, August 12, 2011

Anthology on Fate Surprises, Amuses, Encourages...

Bas relief of Atropos. Greek Goddess,
 cutting the thread of life.
"Coincidence is God's Way or remaining anonymous.--Albert Einstein

The Mystery of Fate:

Common Coincidence
 Or Divine Intervention?

Edited by Arlene Uslander
 and Brenda Warneka

No matter how learned you become, there are certain things that continue to happen in life for which, sometimes, there is just no answer to the "Why?" When you add the "How?" it becomes even more a question that seems to have no answer. Sometimes the questions remain unanswered. Sometimes people say that what happened was just a coincidence...

But for many of us, we just can't accept that... especially when you hear or read stories about incidents that have occurred in the lives of people we know. Arlene Uslander and Brenda Warneka have had incidents in their own lives. Not only did it affect each of them, but it led to their agreeing to gather true stories from others  that may not have been similar in content, but ultimately always led to the question of "coincidence or Intervention." Personally, I'm quite willing to state I believe in Divine Intervention. But if you don't, I challenge you to read these stories and provide a valid explanation. Oh, and in my opinion, coincidence is not really a valid response...although I do believe in the word, coincidence, for many events...just not those where you can clearly see that an intervention must have taken place...

The Mystery of Fate : Common Coincidence or Divine Intervention? (Volume 1)
The cover is a beautiful photo collage representing some of the stories you'll find in this excellent book. If you're like me, I chose to read the book over a series of days, reading one or two stories, responding to them, admittedly many times in an emotional amazement of wonder. But for this review, I thought I'd spotlight the individual who initiated the planning for this anthology...Arlene Uslander.

And what better way to share her own stories is through a taste of her own words, first, from God Writes Straight Lines in Crooked Letters:

"My mother used the expression 'God writes straight lines in crooked letters.' often when I was a child, only I never knew what it meant. I think I do now.

"It all started with a rock--an ordinary, flat rock. My husband and I, both Chicagoans, were in Arizona visiting our friends Brenda and Dick Warneka. Little did I realize that God was going to lead me along a path (literally) that eventually would save, or at the very least, prolong, my life..." (p. 125)

From Some Kind of Miracle..."I saw Callie at the end of the hall, a look of amazement on her face. 'It's some kind of miracle!...Your mother's eyes are open!'

"Hurrying into my mother's bedroom, I was shocked to see that her eyes were open. She was propped up in the rented hospital bed, staring straight ahead. At first I thought she was dead, and my heart started racing. But then she shifted her gaze and looked straight at me. She had a puzzled, questioning look on her face, as if to ask 'Where am I?" Or perhaps 'Where am I going?'...

"I held her frail body gently and spoke to her softly, telling her how much I loved her. And then I could feel and see that she was gone..."  Thinking about...[everything that had just happened] I suspect that Callie was right. It was some kind of miracle." (p. 199)
I marked so many of the stories as I read...nearly all held my attention to ponder...and, yes, comfort me... but my personal favorite was called The Guide by Mary-Alice Boulter who shares a story that happened to her father and his friend in 1954, about getting lost in the fog, at sea and being a whale...

"Now, old feller," Paul said to the giant quietly floating just ahead of the boat. "You're the navigator." He saluted loosely. "I'll follow you."

"The great creature's carnacle-spotted body began to move slowly into the fog. Paul started the engine once again and pushed open the throttle enough to match the whale's speed. He glanced at the compass. The needle was still swinging erratically, useless...

"Together, the whale and the small craft advanced into the thick shroud of fog. Paul thought they must look like a toy following along..." (p.102)

It's interesting that the editors gathered stories through writers' sites...Just imagine the number of tales they might have received had they been able to solicit responses more broadly. These "Real Stories ~ Real People" are wonderful to read. Admittedly, we still have no answer as to why there are not stories such as these in everybody's lives. That is, indeed, the Mystery of Fate.

Highly recommended for those seeking answers or those who enjoy reading personal stories that amaze and thrill!

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  1. This sounds like a great book. I definitely believe in divine intervention and feel I've been blessed many times by a merciful God.

  2. Gail...thanks for commenting and sharing about your own experiences...oftentimes, we can even become complacent in thinking about how many blessings we've received and then are surprised by somebody's somewhat amazing experiences--though we shouldn't be, should we? I hold on to those "amazing" stories though, because somehow they become so real to us that we can think about this or that time and it pulls us back from any problems we might face. Blessings, Glenda