More Than Coincidence?

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

With each passing year, I am less likely to categorize occurrences as coincidences, happenstances or even “blind hog” luck. Now, it is probable that on significant matters, I’ll classify many of them as divine interventions or acts of God, His angels or others He might designate.
Two recent conferences at the same hotel on the same date were indeed intertwined. At the Marriott Delta Hotel in Hunt Valley, Maryland, were more than 200 Lions Club members from D.C., Maryland and Delaware. Down the hall were some 60 college students for a get-together from the National Federation of the Blind.

Dr. Don Newbury

The Lions were celebrating their 100th anniversary, reflecting on numerous projects, including their longtime mantra of serving the blind. Their intermingling with the collegians, seeing their guide dogs and hearing the confident tapping of their canes were constant reminders to Lions of much of what they are about.
A breakfast speaker for the Lions’ convention, I watched their intermingling, thinking often of how much they had In common, and how courageously the students moved about, some of them faster than sighted Lions! Surely this was a divine appointment!
During the weekend, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem and other patriotic observances reminded us of our heritage.
At the convention, I was welcomed back into Lions Club membership after a lapse of 55 years. I was inducted by Brian Sheehan, President of Lions International, the world’s largest civic organization. A Minnesotan whose duties call for his attendance at far-flung points during his year in office, he had been at the Texas Lions’ Camp in Kerrville a few hours prior to his Maryland visit, following which he and his wife were off to meetings in Chicago, then Iceland.
I was emcee for the Lions’ banquet where Ray Hildebrand, a friend from college days at Howard Payne University, led in the singing of the National Anthem, and the next evening, he sang his former number one hit, “Hey, Paula,” with the “The Fabulous Hubcaps,” a musical group well-known along the east coast.
 At the August 12 concert, my wife and I observed our 56th wedding anniversary. I mentioned what an honor it was to be on the program with “The Fabulous Hubcaps.”
She agreed, saying that I could be the exhaust pipe.
Adding to the good fortune of Lions and the blind group landing at the same place was still another occurrence that had divine involvement written all over it.
For several years, Lion Lois Barb has trained guide dogs for the blind. Soon after arrival, she saw a dog that looked familiar. Sure enough, it was Pippin, a service dog she had trained several years ago.
She had no idea where the dog had wound up or who he would be leading. It was a happy reunion.
Before leaving the area, we toured the now five-year-old Museum of the Bible, which is located just three blocks from our nation’s capitol.
It dazzles, awash in marble and pristine surroundings, offering interactive exhibits and historical data that make it a virtual “must” to visit.
In just five years, it is already one of D.C.’s most-visited tourist attractions.
Then, it was on to Cincinnati, where we’d headquarter for visits to The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. Before departing Maryland, a sign on the interstate reminded us that the historic civil war’s Battle of Antietam was waged. It was the bloodiest day in American history, with some 23,000 casualties, including almost 4,000 killed.
At a rest stop nearby, we spoke of carnage, filled up with gas and continued driving west, wondering about a “clunking sound.”
Sure enough, the gas nozzle still was inserted, with a 10-foot span of hose flapping against the pavement. We returned it to the service station, apologizing profusely.
The lady hadn’t missed the hose and thanked us for returning it. She immediately restored it, glad that powerful magnets allow easy hose re-attachment after thoughtless motorists yank them from gasoline pumps
   Dr. Newbury, longtime university president, continues to write weekly and speak frequently. Contact: 817-447-3872. Email:<>, Facebook: Don Newbury.

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