How Do It Know

There be three things which are too wonderful for me,
yea, four which I know not:
the way of an eagle in the air;
the way of a serpent upon a rock;
the way of a ship in the midst of the sea;
and the way of a man with a maid.

— Proverbs 30:19


I gave my mom a really neat credit card carrier. It looked like a wallet. There were slots to keep her plastic cards always at the ready.


The best thing was, if a card was missing when you folded it closed, it would sound an alarm.


It was a great way to keep her from ‘’going home without it’’ — leaving a credit card on a store counter or at a restaurant cash register.


Mom took this unique contraption on vacation far into the North Woods, to a remote town kind of frozen in the past. She stopped in for supper at a backwoods joint that was a combination bait shop, grocery store, greasy spoon, barber’s shop, mayor’s office and notary public. You know, with moving pictures in the Hamm’s Beer sign.


She had her Reuben and got up to pay with a credit card.


You guessed it: she forgot to pick up the card from the counter. She shut the card-case, and turned to leave, when. . . .




Heads turned. These folks had surely heard a beeper before. But there was none in sight.


Mom took the card-case out, opened it, slipped the card back in, and stopped the beeping.


Then she noticed that the old coot behind the cash register was staring at her, slack-jawed.


Mom’s obliging. So she showed him how it worked. Others gathered ‘round. They marveled. It was by far the newest and most interesting thing in the North Woods — even more mysterious than a Fish Finder.


The old coot, who was minus many teeth and hadn’t thoroughly shaved since Eisenhower, put chin in hand, contemplating. He’d heard Mom say that the card-carrier beeped only if you accidentally left a card out.


He stared intently at the folder.


Finally, he asked: ‘’HOW DO IT KNOW?’’


As in, how did the card-carrier ‘’know’’ that a card was missing?


Mom stared back. For all her bragging, she couldn’t exactly answer that. She told him she didn’t really know. Something about a chip. She was sure his mind leapt to an image of what a moose leaves in the woods.


But that was OK: they shared in a mystery. They didn’t need the answers, the technical details, to know that it worked and it was good.


It’s like that with everything God makes. The wind blows, the sea flows, and nobody knows. Not exactly.


The planet tilts at precisely the correct angle to the sun to sustain life. Why? I’m not sure, but if it didn’t, we’d all be blackened toast or icicles.


The boys of every species like the girls of that same species, and no others. How? We don’t know, but they find ‘em. All over, they do.


Those daffodils peeking up along our driveway. How do they know It’s time to rise and shine?


Those little birdies who pick up twigs in their little feet before they undertake to fly over oceans during long migrations. How do they know they’ll need something that floats to go night-night ‘til it’s land-ho again?


That young cousin of ours, that adorable hunk who’s getting married, whose bride-to-be blushed so endearingly at her shower yesterday when people asked her how many kids they hoped to have. She is soooo much in love with him. How’d he kindle such fireworks in her heart?


And life goes on, wonder after wonder, miracle after miracle.




It doesn’t. But that’s OK. God do. †

By Susan Darst Williams | | Great Moments in Dignity | © 2020