A moment of serendipity

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

 Have you ever tried growing tomatoes? 

If you have, then you'll have experienced that wonderful conundrum of what do you do with your tomatoes when they don't turn the luscious red that you hoped they would. 

When this first happened to my wife, Eva and I, when we used to have an allotment, we made green tomato chutney, and delicious it was too. 

But this time, we thought we'd do something a little different, and try fried green tomatoes. 

As we pondered this idea, I mentioned to Eva that this reminded me of a film that I'd seen years ago - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe. I only remembered snippets of it, so didn't think any more about it. 

A few days before, Eva had shared that there was a hole-in-the-wall library on one of our nearby streets. This was most exciting news. so, I had to have a look at the earliest opportunity. This came whilst walking our dog, Charlie. There it was, a marvellous collection of books, where you could take one, and drop one off in return, all contained in a crafted wooden home, with doors to protect these precious books from the rain. They had all kinds there. From the Hunger Games, to Dan Brown to a Margaret Atwood novel. From children's books to a book, I remember reading from a book group years ago - If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. And they had one over book there. A book I didn't expect to see, and a moment of pure serendipity. Yes, it was Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by the wonderfully named Fannie Flagg. It really is a tremendous book. I'll warn you that it's not an easy read at times. The language can be coarse, and the writing can hit you between the eyes and make you wince. But it is also funny, moving, and heartfelt. Eva read it first and could hardly put it down. 

The hole-in-the-wall book swap

And the serendipity continues ... 

I often read The Daily Message whilst having my breakfast, though one morning, I felt like reading the Fried Green Tomatoes book instead.  Well, it seemed that God had a surprise for me as I read that morning. The title of the chapter should have given it away - The Martin Luther King Memorial Baptist Church. Turned out that one of the main characters in the book, a Mrs Evelyn Couch, was going to church that day. But she didn't go to her usual church. The Highland Avenue Presbyterian Church. She felt drawn to the Baptist church. The largest black church in Brimingham, Alabama. And to say that she met with God is an understatement.

 The title of the sermon that day was 'The Joy of a Loving God' by Reverend Portor. And he meant it. As he preached, he would throw his massive head back and shout and laugh with happiness... His enthusiasm for the Lord was contagious and spread like wildfire throughout the room. He assured them, with a great and mighty authority, that his God was not a vengeful God, but one of goodness ... love ...  forgiveness ... and joy

And his sermon was full of joy. Here's one example that says it all

'YOU CAN BE BAPTIZED, CIRCUMCISED, GAVALNISED, AND SIMONIZED, BUT IT DON'T MEAN A THING IF YOU AIN'T A CITIZEN OF GLORY ...' When he had finished, the whole church exploded in 'Amens' and 'Halleluiahs!'

I didn't have snap, crackle and pop for breakfast that day, but what I'd just read was a wonderful way to start the day. A little reminder that God cared about every aspect of my life and loved to meet with me when I least expected it, and to bring me joy, because he loves me. 

 I'd love to know of any serendipity moments you've had with books or ways that God has surprised you in a wonderfully unexpected way. Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. 


Martin is a writer, baker, photographer and storyteller. He's been published in the ACW Christmas anthology and Lent devotional. As well as four micro-fiction anthologies. He's currently honing his craft at flash fiction, and you can find him on Twitter here.






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