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imgresAround 20 years ago, I was playing tennis with a friend at a park near my home in Mexico, Missouri. At some point during our match, I noticed a familiar-looking car cruising through the parking lot next to our court. I quickly realized that it was my car, or it used to be. It was the grey 1987 Ford Taurus I had sold to a local dealership a couple of weeks earlier.

The driver rolled down the window and called out, “Stephen, is this your old car?”

I set down my racquet and walked over. The driver was a woman who had worked with me on some videos for the local TV station. She and her son were test-driving the Taurus, thinking it would be a good car for him now that he had his license.

“This was my car,” I said. “How did you know it belonged to me?”

The woman reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a box of new checks from Commerce Bank. The blank checks had my name and address on them. “We found them under the front seat,” she said. “You might want them back.”

“Yeah, I do,” I said, somewhat puzzled. “Thank you so much.”

She asked me a few questions about the car. I told her that the Taurus had a rebuilt engine and its radiator was on borrowed time. She thanked me and pulled out of the parking lot, probably thinking that I was a complete idiot.

I recall that exchange from 20 years ago and I still marvel at how lucky I was, how several things had to mesh perfectly for that event to occur. First, I was extremely lucky that someone I knew test-drove my old car and found my checks under the front seat (though I had a balance of about $500 in the bank back then, someone could have found those checks and starting floating them around town). Secondly, it was pure coincidence that the woman and her son were driving through the park and saw me playing tennis. What are the odds of all of these things working together for me to get my checks back?

I know that is a small thing in the grand scheme, but it makes me think of all the times I have been lucky or blessed in my life. I might not even be aware of some of those instances when my luck was strong, when a road not taken might have rescued me from disaster. I have had some hardships and tragedy in life, but I have also been very fortunate for the many times when forces out of my control somehow worked in my favor.

What about you? Can you recall a moment in your life when somehow, against the odds, different forces pulled together to bring you good luck or, even, a blessing from above?

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