Experiencing God’s Love in Moments When We Least Expect It

Avery Schott

A Reflection from Parish Administrator -Avery Schott

As what has been a busy summer has progressed further along, I find myself continually returning to one specific moment that invited me to experience the presence of God’s love when I least expected it. 

It was the morning of the rehearsal dinner for the wedding of my wife Bethany and I. Over the course of the previous three days we had been welcoming and hosting  friends and family from all over the country as they arrived in Maine. We were also in the midst of preparing the last few details for our wedding. To say that we were exhausted and stressed would have been an understatement. 

That morning we had to go and pick up a rental pick-up truck at 7:00AM in an effort to get a trailer to move our table and chair rentals to our venue. We were on a tight schedule as we had to have the truck back by 10:00AM and the venue was over an hour away. 

After signing the necessary paperwork and getting the rental insurance I hopped into the truck and turned on the ignition. As I began to pull forward out of the space, I was greeted by a shrill metallic scraping noise coming from the passenger side of the truck. As I stopped the truck and got out to see what was going on, I realized that the car parked next to the truck had been angled and parked too close, causing the two vehicles to collide once I pulled forward.

My heart dropped and a wave of panic, frustration, and grief flooded over me. This could not happen. Not today. Little did I know that an opportunity to experience God’s love at work in my life was about to happen.

Bethany and I were distraught. Fatigued from the stress of the week, we did not know how we were going to make it through. Luckily, my father-in-law stepped in to save the day. He calmly told us to breathe and know that everything was going to be ok. He calmly guided us through what to expect and helped us to slow the whole situation down.

The manager of the rental facility came out to examine the damage to the truck and to the car. She could see that we were having a difficult time. She walked over to my wife and said “I don’t know you, but you look like you could use a hug. It will be ok. Everyone is safe and that is the most important thing.” 

As she learned about our upcoming wedding she began to recognize the difficult situation we found ourselves in. Her kindness and compassion during the process of handling insurance claims, filing a police report, and examining the damages was assuring that we would make it through. After all was said and done, Bethany gave her a flower from part of her bouquet as a token of thanks. 

My soon to be father-in-law recognized how exhausted I was from the week and the situation at hand. While we were working with the rental agency, he went inside and managed to add himself as a driver to the truck.

Once everything was settled and we were able to resume our journey, he began to drive with me to pick up the trailer, tables, and chairs.

My father-in-law and I are drastically different people. We come from different backgrounds and have been shaped by contrasting world-views. 

As we drove along that morning, he opened up to me in ways that I would never have expected. He told me above all else how grateful he was that I was the person marrying his daughter and that I was becoming part of the family. This meant the world to me at this moment.

As the rest of the day went along, everything went smoothly and we were able to have everything fall into place with the help of so many loving family members and friends. 

Since the period of time following our wedding, I am struck by the beauty of that day and the opportunity to experience God’s love in the midst of a difficult time. It gives me courage and hope each day that I wake up to know that there are people moved by the spirit of a loving God who will in turn love me unconditionally when I need it the most. 

Each day that I come to the Cathedral, I carry in my heart this message. I recognize that I am lucky to have the opportunity to walk in love and offer kindness to others whenever possible. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to walk this path each and everyday as part of your community.