It was raining and cold. I had parked to run into a store for just a moment and was getting out of my car when I heard a thunk. Looking around on the ground I saw nothing, and I concluded that one of the buttons of my bulkier-than-usual clothing had whacked the car door. No problem. I took care of my business and was returning to my car when I heard my cell phone. I darted through the rain, trying to get back into the car quickly, and reached into my pocket as I slid into the seat. But my phone wasn't in my pocket.
I looked around in the car, but didn't see it anywhere. So I opened my car door and heard the faint sound of my phone letting me know I had missed a call. Out in the rain, on my hands and knees, I searched for the source of the sound. Lo and behold, my cell phone was on the ground, underneath the vehicle next to mine, completely out of sight unless one was crawling around in the parking lot. If my friend had not called at the exact moment I was returning to my car, I would most likely have driven away and left my phone behind to be crushed under the wheels of an unsuspecting SUV.
Some people would call that a remarkable coincidence. Others would cite the experience as proof that there is a higher power watching out for us. Or our phones, at least. I think there is a useful perspective somewhere between the two. After all, calling it coincidence puts me at the mercy of chance, which is in a sense true. I can't control anything but my own actions, but I am far from a helpless victim. It was absolutely a case of remarkable timing, but I am left wondering how many other instances of remarkable timing I miss every day. Not mere coincidence, but opportunities to act.
Taking it as a wake-up call to be more aware of what is happening around me gives me an opportunity to notice things that I can do in my own moments of remarkable timing. Leaving my phone behind in that moment would have been a frustrating complication in my life, and my friend had no idea how a call at that specific time would save me from that frustration. Imagine what would happen if we were purposefully watching for those opportunities.