God winks are serendipitous in nature. These seemingly random events are signposts that can help you to navigate your career, relationships, and interests. God winks is based on a theory that God uses everyday experiences and chance meetings to improve our lives.
It is quite possible that God organized winks for me because of discouragement I was feeling after a severe injury to my foot. Ten weeks before a national conference, American Educational Research Association (AERA), I tripped and fell in my driveway and suffered a Lisfranc fracture in my middle foot. It was painful and super annoying because I wasn't able to put weight on my injured foot for weeks...and weeks...and weeks. Even after ten weeks my foot and ankle were swollen and painful to touch or move.
I was forced to use crutches or a knee scooter to get from one place to another. It had been ten long weeks of hobbling around with no end in sight. My orthopedic surgeon believed that surgery would be necessary if my foot didn't heal on its own. I was discouraged that my foot didn't seem to be improving.
Maybe it was being in New York City, sitting in a yellow taxi, that made me think about the cover of the book. Who knows?
Whatever the reason...I guess God thought I needed a few winks.
Here are three unexpected God winks this past week while attending AERA.
God Wink 1: God's wink affirmed that my research interests on teacher blogging and twitter as a community of practice are relevant and have a place in today's research market.
At a conference session titled: Meet Journal Editors: Journal Talks I met, Dr. Guy Merchant, an editor for Early Childhood Literacy. I was confused as to why a speaker wasn't talking, even after the "Journal talk" was to have started. I noticed that people were socializing around tables, and decided to jump in.
I hobbled over to a table and introduced myself, "Hi, my name is Tamra, and I feel like an accidental tourist. I'm not sure what is going on here." Pointing to the microphone at the front of the conference room I explained, "I was expecting someone to speak."
Guy chuckled and explained in a thick English accent that the session was an opportunity to meet editors of peer-reviewed journals. Since it was bothersome to move around, I sat and visited with Guy. He shared early childhood literacy trends in research with me and advised me on ways to get journal articles published.
Our conversation took a turn when I asked him if I could take a picture and tweet it out. Well, it turned out that one of Guy's university students, Ian Guest, was in my Twitter PLN and had completed research on Twitter as professional development. In fact, Guy was a "tweeter" and we began talking about social media in education. He affirmed that social media and digital literacies were a current trend in research and publication.
Now to most people, this may not seem like a wink, of any kind. But to me it was significant. Guy encouraged me that my research about social media in education was needed and relevant.
God Wink 2: God's wink gave me a new outlook on my circumstances.
On what was to have been my return flight from NYC to Dallas, the flight was canceled do to "bad weather." I was bummed. I needed wheelchair assistance. My phone charger didn't work and my battery was low. I was feeling sorry for myself.
When the announcement was made the flight was canceled, I was frustrated because I would have to rebook my flight. I booked the earliest flight at 6:30AM the following morning. I decided that it was ridiculous for me to get a taxi, find a hotel, only to wake up at 3:00AM and return to the airport..all on crutches. After talking to my husband, Michael, we decided it would be safer for me to spend the night in LaGuradia airport.
I rolled up to the counter with others and noticed an older lady almost in tears. She kept saying, "I have to be in San Antonio today. How can I get there?" Since our wheelchairs were beside one another we struck up a conversation. She explained that she was an author and a guest speaker at a school.
The woman turned out to be, Inge Auerbacher, Holocaust survivor and author of I Am A Star: Child of the Holocaust. I was familiar with her story but had never read her book. I felt foolish for complaining about my situation.
I told Inge about a book club I was co-leading for English Learners and remarked on the power of her story would be to introduce to our students. Inge asked for my cell phone number and email and said she would get in touch with me.
Suddenly, my situation wasn't so bad. I was reminded of all the blessings in my life. My attitude took a 180-degree turn and I spent the night at the airport being thankful and not grumbling. I never saw Inge again, and believe she was able to find another flight out that day.
God Wink 3: God's wink reminded me of the importance of being prepared to talk about my research interests when asked and to seek advice from other professionals.
The following morning, I was exhausted and more than ready to get home. Once again, I was lined up beside other wheelchair passengers. A professor at my university was scheduled for another flight but paused to visit with me for a while. She wanted to hear more about the research I was participating in as a graduate research assistant.
I excitedly shared an overview of our research presentation at AERA. (Remember, my attitude changed after meeting Inge).
There's an old adage, "You never know who is listening." TRUE!
After the professor walked away, a gentleman in a wheelchair introduced himself to me and struck up a conversation about the AERA conference. His name was Michael Verdi and was at one of the Meet the Journal Editor Talks. He handed me his business card and explained that he was an executive editor for one of the top research publications called: The Journal of Education Research.
I picked his brain the entire flight asking him about trends in research, and how to get published. He asked me about my dissertation topic, my career goals, and offered advice. He encouraged me that I was on a strong path to reach my goals. Our conversation unexpectedly turned towards the idea that God has a purpose for our lives.
I believe God winks at everyone in some form or fashion. It may not be noticeable to others, but winks are personalized to our needs. They come at the right time, often when we need them most.
- Think of a time you have unexpectedly met someone (a stranger) who spoke into your life and helped you to get clarity on your career goals. Describe your experience.
- Have you been a God wink to someone who needed a professional connection, a career door opened, a word of encouragement?
- Why is it important to acknowledge God winks? How do these experiences enrich a person's life?
Remember a coincidence is just God's way of performing a miracle anonymously.