A coincidence is both “accidental and remarkable” according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary and that just doesn’t make sense to me. We have free will and we make choices in our life that lead to remarkable situations popping up, but because we are soooo human we stumble through life unaware of most of the choices we make and thus we err in referring to much of what happens to us in life as “accidental.”
One problem with seeing coincidences as accidental is that we fail to acknowledge our potential for awareness beyond the three-dimensional boundaries we generally confine ourselves to.
For me, one of the most difficult aspects of non-accidental coincidences (NACs) is pinpointing the moment they begin, and possibly the moment they end. But then again, trying to do so is even more limiting to our three-dimensional thoughts because most of us conceive of time as being linear, two-dimensional. Sigh.
One recent series of situations brought this all to light for me. The timing issue is a bit tricky, so bear with me.
I was born in eastern Arkansas and moved to North Texas when I was seven years old. My parents still live in the same house they bought in Richardson when they first moved here. In Arkansas, my best friend and neighbor was Nancy Ferralasco whose daddy taught at nearby Arkansas State University. I lost touch with Nancy and often wondered what happened to her.
In high school two of my best friends were Kit and Lela. Despite all the fantastic times we had together and all the escapades we participated in and prayed that our parents wouldn’t find out about, we pretty much lost touch with each other after high school graduation. But about three years ago, Lela reconnected the three of us. And in July of 2010, Lela treated me to a trek to Kit’s home in Hiram, Maine. where the three of us spent a delightful week reminiscing, catching up to present times, and reveling in the beauty of Maine. (This includes some of the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten!) And I’m thrilled to report that this time we have maintained our friendship.
Still with me? I promise I’m getting there!
Last week I ordered some Merino-silk batts from a spinner and weaver named Ann who posted them for sale on an international Yahoo! Spinners group I belong to. I didn’t know Ann, but the batts sounded luscious and were a great price so I decided to take a chance and mailed off my check to her home address in Maine. Ever curious, I decided to call up Google Maps to see how close she lived to Kit. Turns out that Ann’s town is about a two-hour drive east of Hiram.
In my e-mail communications with Ann I reminisced at bit about what I loved about Maine (including the coconut and ginger ice creams I still long for). And she, in turn, shared what she loved about the state. Then Ann mentioned that in the middle of winter she sometimes longed to return to her home state of Arkansas where the winters aren’t so cold and the snow not near as deep. What part of Arkansas? I asked. And she replied Wynne, which is just south of Jonesboro. Turns out that she got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. And her favorite professor? Dr. Ferralasco. She then sent me some links to articles about recent recognitions Dr. F was presented and through these, I learned that he still lives in Jonesboro.
So my next step is to contact Dr. F and hopefully reconnect with Nancy. It will be interesting to see where this adventure leads but that’s for another day.
But the current NACs aren’t over yet.
In a recent phone conversation with my Dad. I told him about the messages Ann and I shared. And my Dad commented that many years ago he and Mom traveled to Europe with another couple, and the wife Helen was a spinner and weaver. Then he noted that after Helen’s husband passed away a few years after that trip and she moved to Maine not long after. They hadn’t heard from her in a number of years.
A few days later Dad called back and he didn’t even bother with the formality of a “hello and how are you?” The conversation started with a “You’re not going to believe this!” Dad went on to share that earlier that day Helen had called them. Seems that Helen had been on a trip to Florida with a friend. And on a Sunday morning they decided to go to church and picked out a small Bible chapel in the town they were staying in. Helen went on to tell Dad that when she walked in the church, there hanging on the wall was a photo of him and Mom!
And why would a church in Florida that my parents have never been in have a photo of my parents? Because my Dad has been an active volunteer teacher/grader for many years with a national prison Bible study program run by this church.
So when did this chain of events really begin. Who knows? When will it end? Hah! And what does Webster’s know! Far more than “accidental and remarkable,” coincidences are the roller coasters in the amusement park of life. The fun part is that you have very little to say on how long you stay on. I say enjoy the ride!