I realized it for the first time in my life: there is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don't even know it.
- Sue Monk Kidd
Tomorrow I’ll be flying to Sweden for a friend’s wedding and, after that, I’ll be heading to London–with pit stops in Brussels and Paris–on vacation.
This won’t be my first time in London. About two years ago, my sister Priscilla and I traveled there, and the trip couldn’t have come at a better time. Both of us were at “valleys” in our lives. You know, those low points where you’re in a rut and nothing seems to go right? Priscilla had just gone through a bad breakup and I was having a pretty rough time too. After a difficult few months, we booked a trip to London just so we’d have something–anything, really!–to look forward to.
I don’t know about you, but when my family goes on vacation, there’s very little relaxing! We try to cram in as much as possible in a single day. So for a whole week, Priscilla and I walked around London till our legs ached. Every night, I’d meticulously plan our next day’s activities, consulting maps and my guidebook like a woman on a mission. Toward the end of our trip, we decided to walk to Borough Market near the London Bridge. A friend had recommended we try the market’s famous toasted cheese sandwiches. But we got lost on the way there and ended up on some random street. We were hungry, exhausted and cold from the rain. Ready to give up.
Just then, though, I spotted something colorful peeking out from behind a stone courtyard. We turned the corner to investigate and what we saw left us stunned. Dozens of umbrellas suspended from a metal structure, as if hanging from the sky. Like something out of Mary Poppins. We stood there for a good 20 minutes, mesmerized by what we’d somehow stumbled upon. It was like God had placed those umbrellas in that very spot just for us to find.
For two weary travelers, the umbrellas were a sign. God’s way of reassuring us that he had big plans in store for us. Yes, we were both struggling, caught in a rainstorm of life. But around the corner, something was waiting for us that was more spectacular than we could possibly imagine. Something no map or travel guide could lead us to. If we were patient, waited out the storm, God's wonder would find us. Even today, those hanging umbrellas are more memorable to me than any monument, landmark or museum.
Now, as I get ready for my next trip, I can't help but wonder what God will show me this time around. What little miracles or messages has he hidden across Stockholm and London? Whatever they are, I can’t wait to find out!
Have you ever traveled somewhere, near or far, that really opened your eyes to God’s miracles and wonder? Share your story below!
Diana Aydin is an associate editor for Mysterious Ways magazine. When she was just a little kid, she got her first dose of the miraculous. She’s been on the lookout for miracles ever since. Her favorite time of the day is lunch time, when she gets to step away from the workaday world and enjoy a bit of God’s wonder, if only for an hour!