Signs from God aren't something I go looking for. I joke about them sometimes (you know, some little coincidence happens and I say, "Oh, it must be a sign from God."). Not that I don't believe that God can have a hand in such things. Tom Bombadill's line about "chance, if chance you call it," rings true with me. But, as a good Catholic, it seems a bit presumptuous to expect it. I also agree with the statement by Charles Williams (the "third Inkling") that our little minds were meant... and God wants us to use them.
Before I tell you what happened, I have to tell you my favorite joke about divine providence:
There was a flood and Charlie's house was in the path of the water. He was sitting on his roof with water all around, when a small boat came by and his neighbor shouted from the boat: "Get in the boat, Charlie!" To which Charlie replied, "No, I have faith in God. He'll save me."
The flood got worse and Charlie was holding onto the highest point on his roof to keep from being swept away. A larger boat showed up and the person in it shouted, "Get in the boat with these other people. We'll take you to safety." but Charlie replied, "No, I have faith in God. He'll save me."
The waters rose even higher and Charlie was hanging onto his chimney. A helicopter hovered overhead and let down a rope ladder. "Climb up!" shouted the pilot. But Charlie said, "No, I trust in God. He'll save me."
Then Charlie drowned. Standing before the throne of God, he complained: "I had faith in you! Why didn't you save me?"
God rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Charlie, whaddaya want?" God asked. "I sent you two boats and a helicopter!"
Anyway, my story isn't as momentous. It helps to know that I have to be pretty careful with my money in order to stay solvent. So any purchase is given a lot of thought, especially if it goes above $100 or so. Maybe too much thought.
A few weeks ago, I killed my printer. It wasn't murder but unintentional printerslaughter. I asked it to print on something I shouldn't have and it effectively had a fatal heart attack. My printer was five years old at the time of its death, but it should have had a lot of life left in it.
I'd been debating for a long time about getting a wide-format printer. I'd love to have one that can print 24 inches wide, so I could make "real" gift wrap. But those cost a few thousand dollars. My brother thought I was more likely to make money from my graphics if I put them on scrapbook paper, so he thought it would be a better idea to just buy one that could print 12x12. One of those would cost less than a thousand dollars.
After my printer died, I went looking. I found out that the brand I like has put out a second generation of their printers that can print up to 13x19. The new one got good reviews and, as usual, cost several hundreds less than its predecessor. It could be had for under $500. I went to see what bargains I could find on amazon, and discovered a couple of dozen people who were selling that model "used/like new." The lowest prices were around $200. Evidently, the company had had such a good rebate offered that people bought the printer just to get the rebate and then turned around and sold it. Each description said, "Factory sealed. UPC has been removed." I put one of the used/like new printers in my cart - not the cheapest one, but the cheapest one from a seller who had a good feedback record.
I did this at the office late on a Friday, but I wanted to complete the sale from my home computer so I'd be at the email address amazon knows me from. It was also another way to delay spending the money until I was really sure I wanted to. I went home, but didn't think of it Friday night.
Saturday afternoon I was trying to get some things taken care of and decided I might as well go buy that printer - assuming I'd decide to buy it when my finger was over the purchase button.
I went to amazon and the printer was still in my cart. But out of those couple of dozen used/like new offers, not a single other printer was left. The only one not already bought was the one I'd put into my cart! With no hesitation at all, I bought it as quickly as I could. Not to do so, it seems to me, would have been a lack of faith and gratitude. I can almost picture God throwing up his hands and asking "Whaddaya want?"