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Something so seemingly simple can propel me to make life changes, where all confusion is gone. It can happen in a few seconds, but you know, you know without a shadow of doubt.
There was a guy I met at a church we were both invited to. Because of his enthusiasm, I got back into physical activies.
I met both my partner and my best friend by happenstance, around the same time, many years ago. Many / most of my key friendships began quite randomly. Curious!
What a beautiful reminder to stay open and available to opportunity, taking a chance and not knowing where or how things may turn out or where they may lead. Thank you for this question, and for each of the thoughtful reflections!
Halloween dinners! Dressed as a witch, two years I’ve met a woman or 2 going in to the condo’s Halloween dinner, and all 3 of them have become friends, especially one who was busy with caring for grandchildren, moved away, but came back to walk around our ‘lake’ where we ran into each other and are now dear friends who meet regularly for coffee.
Essentially, all of them. The bicycle and my love of riding them, is a through line. Almost all the connections in my life can be traced back to that. One of the things I live for is the random connection. I’m trying to be more open to happenstance, but my need to be in control gets in the way. It’s a constant tension.
We moved from New Orleans to a place I considered the middle of no where. The nearby Army post had a Music and Theatre Program and shortly after our arrival, they were having auditions for a Christmas themed children’s production and my kids wanted to try-out. They landed parts in the production. I helped behind the scenes. The next production was a musical and I decided that it would be fun to maybe land a part in the chorus. I didn’t know there was only one female in the cast. If I had, I would never have had the courage to try out. I landed the part of the female lead and was scared silly I would fail. That began a community theatre career of over 40 years filled with wonderful relationships and many leading roles. It enriched my life and blessed me with wonderful memories. One of which is being Maria in the “Sound of Music” and my own daughter playing the Captain’s oldest child, Liesel. Community theatre lead me back to college in my thirties to a degree in speech with an emphasis on drama and a minor in voice. That degree opened the door for a plethora of job opportunities. All of this in the middle of what I had considered NO Where!
Thank you, Carol – what a story!
There are many such instances, and I wonder what other opportunities have presented themselves – and I didn’t recognize them. So part of the ‘happenstance’ may be the awareness I bring to the moments of my day….
For me, I have these connections like many of you have mentioned, but it is always our choice to continue that connection. Some I have, some I have not. They seem to happen with some regularity, and I just experienced a connection 2 days ago….it was truly profound, and I am still in the afterglow of it….
In early February 1986 I placed a personal ad in the Village Voice, a popular weekly newspaper in New York City. When the ad ran, the box number for replies was inadvertently left out. I contacted the paper and they ran it again (I only planned on one week). My now wife of 34 years replied the week the ad ran again. If the ad contained the reply number the first week, we would not have met.
Are some of our connections by happenstance? Or does everything happen for a reason? I always say the latter, but thinking about it, I believe in both! What may seem like happenstance at the time may later be revealed as Divine intervention. I worked in the same building as my husband for at least 8 months before becoming friendly with him, but then a few months later, he asked me to a concert – which happened to be my favorite band – and here we are happily married.
Other people in my life have seemed to come in coincidentally, but have been some of my biggest teachers… but I also believe everyone is our teacher, that there are lessons to be learned in each interaction we have, large or small.
As a Quaker minister, many years ago one of my undertakings was to represent my faith community in a local interfaith council organization. I served on its board and participated in a monthly gathering of ministers, pastors, rabbis and priests, which functioned as a loose knit support network of mutual care and support. In one such meeting, Jeff, had shared how rowing on a rowing team in the nearby harbor helped him to balance out his life, provide for some healthy exercise, and develop new friendships among people who hailed from different lifestyles and occupations. At one point Jeff said to me, “Kevin, you should come and give rowing a try yourself, I think you’d like it.” That was twenty-six years ago.
I did try rowing. And for the past twenty-three years, I’ve been a member of Whaling City Rowing, and one of the club’s teams called the “Gray Buzzards,” whose playful team motto is,” Old age and treachery beats youth and enthusiasm every time.” Having membership in this rowing club overall, but on this team in particular, has expanded my horizons in ways that I never could have imagined previously with opportunities for learning new skills, provide leadership where needed, and most especially, develop camaraderie and mutual care of one another over all these years. As our team’s name suggests, we are for sure getting older, where once we were all working in various careers and raising kids, to slowly moving into retirement and becoming grandparents with each passing year as we continue rowing two and three times a week, year round, in and around New Bedford’s busy harbor.
I sometimes look back and think, what if Jeff never suggested that I try rowing? It reminds me of a quote attributed to the late Ram Dass, “There are no accidents.”
Kevin, that’s a beautiful story. I’ve read your previous comments about rowing, and learning more about how you started is fascinating. Thank you.
What a wonderful path to your friendships and commitment to this group for many years. I have heard fewer stories of longtime friendships from men than women. My dad made many friendships through his work and tournaments at bowling, and also softball. He passed away quite young, 56, but had the longest funeral procession anyone could remember at that time. Thank you for sharing, Kevin.
Except for rowing, I don’t follow any sports, Pilgrim, but I think that you’re right about men in total having fewer longtime relationships than women. (I get all my sports info from my grandchildren these days!) And the one’s I’ve seen were almost always sports related, even related to a specific team. And gosh, your dad passing away at ag 56 was certainly way, way too young. Here’s hoping that my friend Pilgrim gets to live twice as long!
About two months ago I gave a lift to a student from Iran. We had a very nice conversation in the car. At parting she told me that her hobby is cooking, and she wanted to cook for me. She did indeed prepare a delicious meal for me. And now….she’s teaching me cooking. I’ve already had the first lesson. We spent hours in the kitchen preparing the food with great care and attention. Yesterday we went shopping together for the Sunday cooking class. She likes to talk about the Persian poet Hafiz, also one of my favorites and like to speak about spiritual matters. Cooking, talking and eating together is a blessing.🍀
What a wonderful blessing, Christine, to have found such a kindred spirit begun in a simple act of outreach. Thank you for sharing this.
Thank you for your Sweet reply, Pilgrim 🤗💞
Maybe she would like this website?
I shall indeed show her this website, Michele 👍🤗💞
The answer could truly be both all or none, depending on the side you look at this question. It might be that the answer to this question lies in a third, all is meant to be as it is? That´s how it feels to me at least. Peace and happiness may be with you all on this bright and sunny crackling cold winter day, dear friends.
To you, too, Ose! I appreciate your answer to this question 🙂
Thanks, Javier, for the great story! We all have so many hidden sides.
For me one of many possibilities, it is from the interconnectedness of people including those profound connections in my life which resulted from happenstance.
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