This last Thursday I was driving up the M1 to Yorkshire. Motorways are a marvel when they are flowing, allowing us to travel quickly to our friends, family, meetings and appointments. Driving on them, however, rarely makes for an altogether exciting experience.
Taking advice directly from an overheard matrix sign, I decided to take a break from my journey and pulled off the carriageway into a Nottinghamshire service station. The décor was grey, drab and tired – in need of some TLC. Customers were sparse, outnumbered by the staff of the outlets by 3 to 1.
I ordered a cup of coffee, paid for it and turned away from the till to sit down at one of the wobbly-legged, Formica tables. If I didn’t say it out loud, then I was a hair’s breadth away from doing so:
“This is a godforsaken place.”
No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than, as if in direct response, a blue people carrier pulled into the car park outside the coffee shop. If my life were a Hollywood movie, uplifting music would have started playing and the sun would have peered round the edge of the clouds abundant in the sky.
The doors of the car opened and there they were, resplendent and with smiles on their faces; happy, chatty and clearly revelling in their conversation.
Who were they, these sparks of light in an otherwise dreary world?
Two nuns, that’s who.
They were at that moment in my life a breath of fresh air; a reminder when it was needed most that God is present at all times and in all places and, more than that, is actively bringing happiness, light and life to the seemingly most mundane circumstances. I suspect that it is something that we would all do well to remember, and something I will certainly try not to forget.