Serendipitous Moments

Years ago, I realized that life goes full circle. My mom would say it another way – “Life is like a puzzle. You don’t always know where the pieces fit, until you step back and look at it.” It is with this understanding that life continually ceases to amaze me.

In Santorini Greece, my brother and I happened upon our childhood neighbor in the same patio bar. I simply looked over, and there he was, casually taking in the volcanic view like the rest of us. Half-way around the world, in Arusha Tanzania, I took lunch at a popular pizza spot. Seeing the only other ex-Pats in the nearby vicinity, I struck up a conversation. The college-aged woman was traveling with her mom. It turns out, she attended my alma mater (small world!). When I mentioned my small hometown, she told me her boyfriend was from there. “Okay. Try me. What’s his name?  —xxxx — No way! He grew up two houses down from me and I used to babysit him and his sister!”  STOP. Think about it. I am standing in Africa, talking about my home in North Carolina! Did the world just get a lot smaller in that moment? Fast forward twenty years when my son and I met up with a fellow Tanzanian ex-pat in her homeland of Ireland. Not only did we meet but together we experienced one of the most spiritual places I have ever been — Newgrange – an ancient burial ground with stone passageways and chambers ringed with cobblestones and large megalithic art, predating Celtic symbolism. Life literally and figuratively came full circle in Ireland. According to popular opinion, we are three degrees of separation from someone we know. It doesn’t matter how far you wander, you are never lost, or something like that. Is it always that easy?

In the first example, all I had to do was look up. I had to take in my surroundings and as I did, a happy accident occurred. In the second scenario, with no cell phone or other external forces to distract me, I simply started a conversation with a question. The question led to a surprising answer. If I didn’t ask the question, I would never have known the answer. These, along with overwhelming emotions I experienced with an old friend, are the little puzzle pieces of my life, and they comfort me. I may be only a dot on a very overwhelming planet, but for these moments, my existence mattered, and the connection to someone or some place, brought me closer to a strange world.

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