Author Squire D. Rushnell defined the term Godwink as ”An event or personal experience, often identified as coincidence, so astonishing that it could only have come from divine origin.” Rushnell has written several books where he tells the stories of amazing Godwinks that either he has experienced personally, or that other people have experienced and shared with him. He coined the term Godwink to describe these amazing occurrences.
Back in the late 1990s, when Mim and I were operating Country Comforts Bed & Breakfast in our farmhouse in Cambridge, Wisconsin, we experienced several Godwinks. One of them happened at breakfast one morning. We had two sets of guests. Jenny and Sam were frequent guests of ours from Madison. Sam had been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, and they had come to our B&B to recuperate in the peace and quiet of the country.
Our other guests were a Catholic priest from Minnesota and a hospital administrator from a Chicago suburb. The priest and the hospital administrator had been childhood friends in Chicago. They were meeting at Country Comforts to catch up on each other’s lives.
The conversation at breakfast turned to talking about people we really admire. The hospital administrator said that, without a doubt, the person he most admires is his younger brother, a nurse, who is the most caring person he has ever met. Sam said he could understand that. His nurse in the hospital earlier that week had been the kindest, most caring person he had ever met. As they continued talking around the table about the person they most admired, they realized that the hospital administrator’s brother had been Sam’s nurse in the hospital. Wow! What a “coincidence.”
With that discovery, we all felt a sense of awe. This confirmed what we already suspected, that God pays attention to our lives. Sometimes maybe God really does arrange “chance meetings” like this as a way to help us understand that there’s plenty of love and kindness in the world for all of us. God blessed us with a Godwink that morning. [See note at end of post.]
God winked at me again last Sunday when I was the substitute organist at a Methodist church in a suburb of Madison. Whenever I sub at a church, I try to talk with the pastor before the service to find out service details, like whether or not hymns are announced or if I should just start playing when the bulletin says it’s time for the hymn. The last time I subbed at this church was in April. At that time, the pastor asked me to play some background music during a time of silent prayer in the service – like about one verse of any hymn I wanted, just to have music throughout the time of silent prayer. I thought quickly about what to play, and the old chorus “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul…” came to mind, so that’s what I played on that Sunday in April.
Last Sunday, a woman in this church came up to see me after I finished the postlude. She said, “You’ve played here before, haven’t you?” I responded, “Yes, probably about half a dozen times over the last few years.” Then she added, “I just wanted to thank you for playing the chorus ‘Thank you, Lord’ during the silent prayer the last time you were here. I hadn’t heard that chorus in years. We used to sing it a lot when we were kids. And years later when I was working, I sang it every morning in the car on my way to work. I just want to let you know how much your playing that chorus meant to me. Thank you so much.”
Thank you, Lord, for bringing that song to mind when I was quickly trying to think up what to play that day. Thank you for letting me be your hands in that moment. And thanks for the Godwink last Sunday.
NOTE: For more stories like this, you may be interested in reading my book “COME, LORD JESUS, BE OUR GUEST: Adventures in Hospitality.” A few copies are still available. Here’s a link to the “Books” page of my blog, where you can learn more about the book and how to order it.