DIVINE APPOINTMENT: A divine appointment is a meeting with another person that has been specifically and unmistakably ordered by God.
Divine appointments are the Universes’ way (Gods) of steering us into a specific encounter or experience so that we can serve a greater good, play a part in the lives of someone else, or continue our growth/transformation to learn from others. I had such a Divine Appointment on my way from Asheville, NC to hike the Laurel River Trail at the Pisgah National Forest. This appointment was structured in a way that the advice I received and decisions I made all led to the perfect timing for our encounter/appointment. I firmly believe that a month ago I would have missed this appointment (like I do with the dentist), but with a shift in my energy has provided me with a radar (gut feeling) on some of my decisions that have lead to some eye opening experiences. Below is the story of how my Divine Appointment was fulfilled.
I was in Charlotte, NC and I was trying to plot my next destination. I knew I wanted to go east, but I wasn’t sure If I was going to stop in Virginia or head straight to Washington, DC. While I was in Myrtle Beach, Megan Hannigan (the Spiritual Surfers wife) suggested that I visit Asheville, where she grew up. I looked at the map and thought, well that will take me way west, so even thought I want to go I probably won’t. While I was in Charlotte I decided to go White Water Rapids (So amazing), which is a man made White Water Rapids center and adventure facility (U.S. National team trains there). While I was in line I told the girl working about my trip. Her response:
“You have to go to Asheville, it is amazing.” The guy next to her chimed in with “she is from there so she has to say that.”
I thought, well that is two people, but they are probably biased since they both grew up there. Finally, I was having a drink with one of my new friends and she asked where my journey was going to take me next. I told her that I was thinking that I would leave Charlotte and head straight to Washington, DC and she interrupted with:
“You should go to Asheville.”
“You are not from Asheville are you?” I asked. “You are the third person that has told me to go there in the last few days.”
She chuckled with a “No, it is just a really great place and I think you would be disappointed if you did not go.”
I decided at that time I was going to go to Asheville. It was about a 2 1/2 hour trip West. While I was driving there I thought to myself, this place better be amazing because I am going the wrong direction. I felt like I was back tracking a bit, but I decided that I was going to go with my gut and I just had a feeling that there was a reason to visit this city. I arrived late at night and grabbed a drink at a small local pub. It had a very Portland (Weird/hip/cool) vibe and one of the guys muttered as I walked in “You would have better luck at the club.” I laughed and asked him “why,” and his response was “You know why. You look like you would belong at a club and girls at the club would be interested in you, but probably not here.” I laughed and I thought to myself “that is a great introduction to Asheville, thank you ladies for the recommendation.” I finished up my drink, decided to strike up the conversation with the guy who made the lovely interview (it was kind of funny, because he was like why the hell are you talking to me) and then I headed to my car to go find the best or closest hotel to park my car and crash out for the night.
I had a lot of trouble sleeping that night, which is not unusual for me. I watched a comedy show, Louis C.K. (possibly the most uninspired person you could watch, but hilarious and a genius in his own right), I looked through Instagram, looked at some old pictures that brought back some amazing memories, and then put my head down. A few hours later I finally fell asleep (about 4:00am or so).
The next morning I woke up late, and tried, and I was trying to decide what to do. There are breweries everywhere, there was amazing food reviews, and some historical tours. I could not decide what I wanted to do, so I just cruised around the city taking in the views when I needed to stopp for gas. Across the street there was a pilates, yoga, and healing center. They did acupuncture and massage and other natural healing methods. I decided that maybe one of the acupuncturist had an amazing story and I called the phone listed on the website. No one answered. I still hadn’t taken a shower yet, so I decided I didn’t want to go in to the facility, smelling like a dirty wildcat (YES, that is a U of A burn!!!!!) I called one more time and no one answered.
I start googling things to do in Asheville, which I often do to find inspiration. I noticed that the Asheville area has a ton of natural hiking paths north (I think it was north, ha) up in the Pisgah Mountains. There were a lot of different paths and trails, but as I am still a little bit out of shape I decided that I would pick the the one that said easy. “I can handle easy,” I told myself. It was a 3.5 mile hike one way along the Laurel River and it looked absolutely stunning. I figured I would find some spectacular places to meditate and enjoy the tranquility of nature. As I continued to read, I see “Bears have been spotted near the river, so just use common sense.” Common sense: well, I will just do what the Packers have done to us for the last 10 years and run away. (Yes, that is a Bears dig and I am a die hard Bears fan. You have to learn to laugh at yourself to be a happy Bears fan).
I start my journey to the Laurel River Trail the route winds up the mountains and through a variety of small towns. Rolling through all of these little towns started to make me think of Malta and I wonder what people thought as they drove the 5 second trip through Malta, IL on Route 38. I do know that if they blinked they probably missed it, but I wonder if they ever stopped and realized that the town was full of amazing and special people. This took me back to a story of when my college coach, Coach Rob Evans, came to visit me at Malta High School to offer me a scholarship. He drove right through the Malta and into another small town about 15 miles away before asking someone where Malta was. He then drove back through Malta, without realizing it was a town (in his defense it is actually a village) and drove into the next city and had to again ask where Malta was. He finally found it and I am thankful he didn’t give up on me then!
As I am driving up to through this small little town I see a younger kid hitchhiking. He looked like he was probably in his early 20’s and had long hair in a pony tail and an black sweatshirt tied around his waist. I immediately thought about how I didn’t stop to pick up a hitchhiker in South Carolina, because I made an excuse that my car was to full for anyone to ride with me. About an hour after I passed the hitch hiker in South Carolina, I got a gut feeling that I had missed an opportunity to interact with a special individual and I vowed that I would pick up the next hitchhiker (as long as he was not carrying a sword or something).
I pulled over on the side of the road and rolled my window down and yelled out:
“You want a ride.”
“That would be awesome, thank you,” he proclaimed with an excited voice.
He gets a little closer to the car and as he is starting to get in I am trying to move all of my stuff. Imagine a car absolutely filled to the brim. My closet is in the trunk, my kitchen is in the backseat, and I have the front seat filled with bins of medicine, chargers/cords, books, notepads, toiletries, and more. As he starts to get in he says:
“I love your car.”
I said “Thank you buddy,” but in my head I was thinking wait until he smells it in here. I think I am immune to the smell, but he might change his mind on the ride after he gets a good whiff.
We start going down the road and he said he just lives a few miles up the road. I think this will be a short trip so it probably won’t be this life changing experience I had imagined, but the idea of giving someone a ride and helping aligns perfectly with the intent of my trip.
About a 1/4 mile down the road I blurt out “Man, you would have been worn out if you had to walk a few miles home.”
His responses to my simple question is what dropped my jaw to the floor and made me realize that my entire trip to Asheville and my decisions earlier in the day were all aligned for this quick 5 mile ride.
“Yeah and I just found out a few days ago that I have Thyroid Cancer.”
My mind blurted out “shut the fuck up, you are messing with me.” But, my mouth cleaned up my response (self-control at it’s finest) as I responded with:
“This is crazy, but I just went through a small battle with Thyroid cancer,” as I showed him the scar on my neck.
He started to ask me questions about the surgery, the treatment, how I felt, and what it would be like. I went into some details about my experience, what the surgery was like, what they did, the medicine I am on now, and how I am feeling. I noticed sense of relief the tone of his voice and his posture as he heard me tell him that It wasn’t painful and that I felt so much better after getting my Thyroid removed and began taking my new life long medicine. As we continued to speak he said:
“That is me right there and he pointed to some older trailers on the side of the road.”
I quickly veered off the road and into a dirt parking lot where I pulled up next to his place. He thanked me for the ride and for the info as I watched him walk away. In my mind, I was thinking that was crazy, but in my heart I knew that it was the reason I took the trip to Asheville, the reason I had trouble sleeping the night before and slept late, the reason no one answered at the Pilates/Healing center, the reason I decided to choose the Laurel River Trial (not just because I am fat and out of shape), and the reason I made the decision to pick up an unknown hitchhiker and give them a ride. It was a Divine Appointment and it was all orchestrated by a great power, something that we often can’t explain. It is these Divine Appointments that we often don’t see, because we are too closed off to the world and our own energy. We are so caught up in our own problems and our world that we don’t let go and allow the universe to make things happen and put people in our path to transform who we are.
*****Side note – As I was walking on the trail I ran into the most amazing lady who i will be connecting with and sharing her story. A former corporate Public Relations write from Atlanta who gave up the hustle and bustle and moved to North Carolina and has transcended to a new spiritual individual who know has authored books and studies flowers and natures and life’s purpose. It was a 20 minute conversation in the middle of the trail and I also believe a Divine Appointment.
Meditating at the Laurel River Trail: