A half-formed thought.

I like going to church because at church things make sense. Left to my own devices, I can never seem to understand any sort of structure to my life. Everything seems to happen randomly, a series of uncalculated, mostly unfortunate coincidences. But at church, I hear story after story of things not going right or things simply falling completely apart. We follow these stories with bouts of desperate prayer - and those bouts of prayer are followed with oddly coincidental, near-miraculous turnabouts. And then suddenly the whole storry starts to smack of patterns and lucky breaks - "if our car hadn't died, we would've been there during the hurricane that destroyed the house," or "and if I hadn't been in the hospital, I would never have met Sarah and Allen, who just happened to be tax lawyers who could help me out."

Outside of church, you only hear those stories on the other side, and it sounds like they're making patterns out of chaos. But when you've been next to people who are truly desperate, prayed for help, and seen their stories turn out in the most unlikely way possible, you wonder how you could have not seen the pattern.

I hate the expression "when God closes a door, he opens a window," but the truth is, without church, I would never even have noticed the house.