03-09-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Out of tragedy

Out of tragedy sometimes can come a new beginning.  I know this happened to a young lady who is a friend of ours.  Actually we met her through one of our daughters, and she is a darling girl.  But she had a horrible thing happen in her family.  Have you ever heard the term “suicide by cop?”   This happens when a person is so desperately unhappy that he cannot face life any longer, but doesn’t have the nerve to end it all.  So he confronts the police and causes them to shoot him.  I’ve honestly never heard of a woman doing that, so I refer to the victim as “him.”  It seems to happen once in a while… unfortunately.

Not only does it devastate the family of the victim, but think of what it does to the police involved, who are most reluctant to take someone’s life, they must forever after live with that on their consciences too.  Actually I believe it is probably the most selfish way to “take the easy way out.”   But a person who does it probably never thinks of the devastation that act will cause for so many people.  On the other hand, it’s not for me to judge how much a person is hurting to do such a thing.  Extreme pain can cloud anyone’s judgment!

Anyways, it happened in this young lady’s family, to someone who was very close to her… and in a city some distance from us, so we would not know any of the people involved.  That “suicide by cop” impacted her universe forever, gave her nightmares, and in a way prevented her from living a normal life. Every time she saw a blue uniform thereafter, her heart would sink!  She finally overcame it enough to move away, and go on to school… as such a good student she got scholarships to help her.  And she worked at whatever job she could get all through that time.

Fast forward to the present and into our story comes our old friend Serendipity!  My Webster’s defines serendipity as good luck… something good that comes along accidentally… I sometimes refer to it as the tumblers of the Universe falling into place!

The aforementioned young lady moved to a far western city… the reason?  They offered her a graduate scholarship in her field, which was, appropriately, Family Counseling.  It seems as though people often go into a field like that… one which helps them to exorcise the demons in their own lives.  And she is doing very well.  When she gets out into the professional world, I’m sure she will help people hugely… she will know what she is talking about!

This girl has always worked while she studied, and has become a crackerjack waitress.   She got a job in an upscale restaurant, the same chain she worked at previously.  And when she used her former eatery as a reference, they gave her a glowing recommendation. At the new place customers like her so much she does very well with her tips.  In fact, if she were not so determined to go into her chosen field, she could live a comfortable life on what she is doing right now!

One day recently, she was working and a young black man came in for a take-out order.  At the same time two city policemen were sitting in her area.  They were quietly eating their dinner, and the young man pointed to them.  He said quietly to the girl, “Those policemen there… I’d like to pay for their dinners.  They protect us all, and they have been having a rough time lately.”  He left enough money to cover their tab and walked out with his order.

Meanwhile a third policeman had come in and joined the other two.  He was looking at the menu when our friend approached their table and said, “Did you see that young black man who was at the counter.  The first two both nodded, and she said, “Well, he paid for your dinners.  And now that your friend has joined you, I’d like to pick up his, so enjoy!”

All three were open-mouthed with astonishment, and then they started laughing.  And one of them said, “Well, while our friend is eating, we would like to order a piece of pie… but we insist on paying for that!”

So they went on with their meal, and our friend brought their pie.  When they left, they paid for the pie with a credit card; and much to her surprise, she found there was a $35 tip for her.  And she was even more astonished to find by their plates each policeman had left a five dollar bill for her.  That put a financial glow on the rest of her afternoon.  And I might add a glow within her also.

Think that’s all to the story?  No, there’s more!  Our friend had a bear of a professor in her graduate school class on Psychology.  Every student had to give a presentation.  For hers, our friend gave a talk on “paying it forward”… the story of the generous policemen.  She said her prof almost never gave out As.  But she got an A on her speech!!!!

Think that’s all there is now?  Well, let me add a little more!  Just suppose… let’s suppose that the old serendipity is still working.  What if those policemen liked their lunch so much they start coming back to that restaurant regularly to eat?  And suppose they start bringing their friends.   And what if there is among them a nice, young, single man… and he sees our friend and asks her out!  Well… anything is possible!

If the old serendipity is still working!

Nobody knows what could happen as we weave golden threads into the tapestry of our lives wherever we may be living them.