My friend Linda related an experience over the phone that touched me deeply. It also reinforced that what may initially pass as a coincidence is really G‑d’s handiwork in our daily lives.

The other day, Linda was shuffling through aTwo little girls appeared before her and began chatting clothing rack in the women’s section of a department store. Unexpectedly, two little girls appeared before her and began chatting.

“Hi! Do you have any children?” the older girl asked, as her sister’s eyes carefully scanned my friend’s face.

Linda, a former elementary school teacher in her late 50s, was accustomed to such questions, although not from two strangers. “As a matter of fact, I do,” Linda answered with a warm smile.

Before she could say more, the younger girl took a cue from her sister and continued the line of questioning. “What are their names and ages? Do they all live with you?”

“Just my 15-year-old daughter,” my friend answered. “My son and older daughter are grown and live on their own.”

“We’re shopping for our school uniforms,” the older girl informed Linda in a businesslike tone. “We need two white blouses and two black skirts.” Behind the girls stood their father, nervously shifting from leg to leg, his face worn with defeat.

“Do you know where my girls can find the right clothes?” he asked my friend.

Without missing a beat, Linda offered to accompany the family to the juniors section. “If you’d like, I can help them choose outfits,” she said to the father.

“That would be amazing,” he replied with a palpable sense of relief.

Linda walked across the store aisles with two little girls in tow. Once again she felt the sharp, aching pain in her bones that she seldom let stop her. You see, five years ago Linda was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer that had metastasized into her bones. So far she has beaten the odds, not only through medical treatment, but perhaps also due to daily exercise, a positive mental attitude and a strong belief in G‑d’s benevolence and responsiveness.

Of course, she didn’t share this information with the two little girls in search of maternal support. It was enough to let them know that there are kind people willing to go the extra mile.

So instead of dwelling on her pain, Linda carefully refocused her full attention on the girls. Equipped with their names, ages and clothing sizes, my friend set out in search of a few becoming outfits. Their father waited patiently outside as Linda brought outfits into the dressing room for the sisters. “If you like, I can stand outside, and when you’re changed, you can do a fashion show for me,” Linda told them.

“We used to do that for our mommy,” said the 7-year-old, as she grabbed my friend’s hand.

“Our mommy died of cancer last year, and my daddy doesn’t know about girl things.”

There it was. Two sisters who lost their mother had found support from a woman struck with the same disease. She was choked with emotion, thinking of her own children. She gathered a deep breath and found the strength to smile as the“Can we give you a hug?” the girls asked, almost simultaneously girls eagerly modeled their new clothes. “You look especially pretty in this outfit,” she said encouragingly. “It fits you so well.”

Perhaps the sisters sensed my friend’s emotion. Perhaps they were simply grateful.

“Can we give you a hug?” the girls asked, almost simultaneously.

“I’d love a hug,” replied my friend.

The outfits purchased, the father thanked Linda many times over before the trio left the store.

Linda pored over the experience inwardly. Things had not always gone smoothly with her teenage daughter. Lately, they had forged a stronger bond. But she hadn’t realized just how strong it was until she shared her department store story with Sara.

While Linda hadn’t expected Sara to cry, she understood the tears and held her daughter close.

In the middle of the night Sara woke her mother. “I don’t tell you enough, but I get so much from you that I’ll always carry with me. I’m just so happy that you’re my mom.”

G‑d’s handiwork, indeed.