I don’t really believe in coincidences. I believe things happen for a reason, even the seemingly simple things in life. Elder Neal A. Maxwell once explained: “None of us ever fully utilizes the people-opportunities allocated to us within our circles of friendship. You and I may call these intersectings ‘coincidence.’ This word is understandable for mortals to use, but coincidence is not an appropriate word to describe the workings of an omniscient God. He does not do things by ‘coincidence’ but … by ‘divine design.’”

We had one of those “coincidences” on Saturday and I have no doubt it was the hand of God.

Our family was doing service at a food packing warehouse for those in need. We were in the giftshop afterwards where you can buy goods from the countries where they ship the food.  (Thus employing people who receive the food, which gives the organization funds to pack and ship more food.) It took an unusually long time for me to choose a nativity to purchase.

In walks a family that Steve immediately recognized – a family we had known in Wisconsin. We hadn’t seen them since they moved for residency a year before we moved from Wisconsin, so more than 8 years ago. Immediately a flood of memories came rushing back to me. This was no ordinary family. In fact, they hold a very special place in my heart.

I photographed their first child in the hospital – who lived just a mere two hours on this earth and I was in the room when he took his last breath. (Find the whole story here.) It was a life changing experience – so much so that we named our next child after their little baby Bennett. Unfortunately, our Bennett was born after we had both moved so they were never able to meet him. And although we’ve told Bennett where his special name came from, he had no connection to the family he was named after.

So to see them in the gift shop (which we stayed in for some time) – as they were coming to work a shift with their little family was nothing short of divine design. I couldn’t help but snap a photo of the special encounter, a tender mercy.

Bennett's namesake