Years ago in NYC I peripherally knew of a young girl who lived in my outer neighborhood. I don’t think Donna and I ever went to the same school until high school. Even then, we were barely acquainted. Our paths crossed on facebook through mutual friends and our interest in all things vegan. She is an activist and educator. With her significant other (and a very significant other he is), Chef Al, a 22 year vegan and master of vegan cuisine, they make the issues of animal treatment and the importance of knowing what is in the food we consume unavoidable lines in the sand.
Do you know the story of Esther? Back in the day, all the beautiful women were brought before King Ahasuerus so that he could pick one to live in the palace and be his new queen. Esther, a young Jewish orphan girl, was chosen. Some time later, Haman, an important prince in the kingdom, was exalted by the king, who declared that all the kingdom would bow down to Haman. Mordecai, the uncle who raised Esther, refused, reserving that honor for God alone. Because of this, Haman decreed that all the Jews be killed.
Mordecai told Esther to plead with King Ahasuerus for the lives of the Jewish people. When she declined, he said some words that have stuck with me for most of my life. “How do you know that you have not been placed in this position for such a time as this?”
Last night as the evening dinner service winded down, Donna got up and sang with our Tuesday night band. As her Etta James-like voice covered us in awe, I looked around at the people in the room, including Marsha, my friend from our days at Bible College thirty-two years ago, Robert and Mike, who besides providing music, have blessed us each in their own ways by virtue of the inspiring men that they are, my new friend Chef Al, whose excitement about vegan food is contagious, and whose smile is so disarming he could probably charm a snake, as well as the last two guests who were at Adama celebrating a birthday and got treated to an almost private concert, and, of course, Donna, who was once barely known to me and is now surely a sister/friend. And I thought, for such a time as this.
Donna could tell you her own stories of the magic of this past week…the chance encounters with friends who she didn’t know were in this area (Donna and Al are living in Ashland, Oregon) and how we have all become connected. There are so many “for such a time as this” moments in life. I say all of this to encourage you. Sometimes it is hard to believe that one day whatever is going on in your life will make sense. It will. By the way, Esther went before the king and saved her community. That is what we celebrate each year at Purim.