Throughout our lives, special people drift in and out making profound impacts on our hearts. We inhabit a world with a colossal number of people. That’s why it is ever so beguiling when our paths crisscross with others and culminate in the discovery of commonalities. I have had a succession of these intriguing coincidences last month.
I mistakenly received a letter from a man who lives in another NC town. He had meant to send it to an appliance company from which he had made a purchase. His letter explained that a part had broken. He had bought it for his church stating the name of the church. I told my mother about the letter and mentioned where he lived and the name of the church he had referenced. She said, “That’s where my first cousin goes to church.” I sent an email to him explaining the error. I told him that I would be glad to forward the letter to the correct address. I asked if he knew my mother’s cousin. I also told him that I had a friend who was a physician’s assistant who lived in his town. He responded saying that my mother’s cousin was a friend having once lived in his neighborhood. He also said that my friend is his physician’s assistant. He emailed me a few weeks later to say that this company had mailed him an entirely new appliance–a happy ending and an interesting overlapping of common connections– all because of a mistaken address.
A friend had a bizarre encounter while sightseeing in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado–an extremely remote area. She was in the welcome center at the top of the mountain when she heard someone call her name. She turned around to discover that it was a friend she had grown up with in North Carolina. They hadn’t seen each other in twenty years!
I was doing a book signing in Blowing Rock when a man and his wife approached and we struck up a personal conversation. He mentioned that he had grown up in Can Tho, Vietnam. That rang a bell with me and I told him that my father had worked as a volunteer physician in a hospital in Can Tho during the Vietnam War in 1967. With a shocked expression, he responded by saying that his father had also worked in the same hospital as a doctor that same year. We both knew that it was such a strange connection to be making'”in a small NC resort town light years away from this hospital in Can Tho, Vietnam where our fathers had once worked together 42 years before. We both stared at each other stunned by the revelation of our unified bond–gave me goose bumps!
I had a speaking engagement in Morganton this month. As I was socializing with the group, I happened to overhear a woman mention a very familiar name'”the name of a good friend with whom my father grew up in Huntersville. They later went to Carolina Medical School together and he practiced medicine at the NC coast. I asked them if it could, perhaps, be the same man. She looked stunned and said, “Yes!” I mentioned my father’s name and the lady looked even more shocked and told me that she had known my father, as well. Her husband had been a medical school classmate of his'” goose bumps again!
I can carry this anomaly a little further regarding this same friend of my father’s once again. I was back signing books in Blowing Rock a few shorts week later and again met two women from the same town at the coast where my father’s good friend had practiced medicine. I asked them if they knew him. They responded that he was a dear, dear friend. One of the ladies chimed in saying her cousin was married to another one of their good friends from the same class. Goose bumps, yet again!
As they walked away, I was feeling touched by the encounter when I glanced up to see my suite mate from Meredith College from “oh so many” years ago walking toward me'”goose bumps now are just a normal part of my body, I suppose! This has been a month’s worth of emotional yanks on my heart'”smiling memories that will leave everlasting imprints.
Isn’t this journey called “life” perplexingly fascinating? No need trying to figure it out– just enjoy the brief touching moments and drain them dry. Life is not to be played out superficially or depending on material possessions for happiness. It’s about people and the emotions they generate in us– the simplest of pleasures caused by the folks we meet along the way who will brighten our paths and touch our hearts. And that’s enough. Goose bumps can carry us a long, long way —