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Look for ‘God winks’ in 2013

December 30, 2012

My chore this week was to tame the convivial chaos of what was left over from Christmas 2012. As I attempted to shove some decorations under my bed, I found a book I bought nearly 12 years ago after Sept. 11, 2001. It was a delightful little volume which discussed a phenomenon called “God winks.”

Call them whatever you like — coincidences or minor miracles — I now call them "God winks" and they can show up often when you’re paying attention.

I’m sure you’ve experienced them. Like when you were nine years old and spilled your chocolate milk all over your grandmother’s heirloom table cloth. Your mother yelled at you, yet your grandmother sent you a conspiratorial wink that let you know all was right with the world… it’s only spilled milk, for Pete’s sakes.God probably does the same thing when we tell a little white lie, and he only gives us a pang of remorse instead of the flogging we really deserve.

"God winks" are a term coined by Squire Rushnell, a former television network executive who wrote a book following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks titled “When God Winks.” The content relates numerous stories about people who narrowly missed being in the towers or the Pentagon on that fatal day due to some last minute distraction that saved them from possible death.

For example, Windows on the World Chef Michael LoMonico barely escaped the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks when he accidentally sat on his glasses. Always on time at his job, on this particular day he was forced to stop by a repair shop where he was waiting for his specks when the first plane hit.

Many of the stories in the book brought tears to my eyes, but then again, I cry during the Folgers Coffee commercials. The stories made me wonder if coincidences even exist at all. I have a friend who met her future husband when she missed her flight out of Atlanta and was bumped off a second flight. She was finally booked on a third flight and assigned to a seat next to a young man. Before the flight ended, the two had made plans to meet again and the rest is history. 

What if she had not missed those first two flights?

Coincidence? I don’t think so. I like to think that life’s grand plan comes equipped with serendipitous events to help us along the way and let us know that we are on the right track.

So here’s to a New Year packed with good fortune and more God winks than you can count. Happy New Year.. 

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a blog for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.  She welcomes comments at

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