When you look back on your life and do the math on people you met, events that transpired, opportunities that arose or just places you visited, do you ever wonder what percentage was actually “meant to be”? As in destiny? As in it was your fate, inevitable and unavoidable?
Math has never been my forte but lately I have realized that the numbers are pretty astonishing. Not just recently but over decades. Things happened in a seemingly innocent way. Except now I believe just maybe the gods were doing their thing.
Back in my country-band days we happened to be performing at a club in Moncton when a renowned family act showed up for a one-nighter, relegating us to opening act. We opened and then immediately split because Kim Mitchell was playing in town and we had backstage passes. When we returned to the club (and our stellar accommodations) several hours later, we had the chance to mix and mingle with these young performers. And when I say young I mean really young. Like the eldest was at least eight years younger than I and it when down from there. We didn’t have much in common with these wee whipper-snappers. Indeed they had already reached a level of fame far beyond our own. But they were cute. And as talented as they were, they were kids. And weirdly awe-struck by us old folks.
Fast-forward a few years and I met up with them again at the annual country music convention. They were all “deer-in-headlights” so I took them under my wing for an evening and shepherded them around. (I know … too many metaphors). The thing is they all kinda looked alike so I never really figured out who was who. But they were cute.
Fast-forward a few more years and I am off the road, working in the music biz in Toronto. And who walks in looking for a job but one of these wee whipper-snappers, all grown up. I still didn’t know which one she was but she remembered me. We got to talking, we got to lunching, we got to friending and now – 30 years later – we are besties for life.
So I look back and think – random meetings (all in different provinces) or divine intervention? Were we “meant to be” or did we just luck into opportunity and then “make it happen?”
When my ex and I separated and I found myself in a townhouse in south Guelph with very few leftover pals (people do love to pick a team) my son decided to host a birthday party with all of HIS new pals. One of the moms called up and said “Just checking because I don’t know you and I need to confirm that the children will be properly supervised.”
“No”, said I. “In our house we encourage them to play out in traffic.”
I know. Sarcastic bitch.
Of course they would be and why don’t you just come on over and drink some wine with me and help with the supervision? And she did. And we have been bosom buddies ever since.
But I moved away, we stayed connected but had little actual contact and then suddenly I found myself back in Guelph so my beloved could pursue his career path. We looked at lots of houses near and far but where did we end up? A few blocks from my old pal. My old pal who was going through big relationship problems and facing a breakup of her own.
Oddly enough, we had put offers in on two properties in a neighbouring town. Nowhere near my old hood. Both deals flew until the inspections kiboshed them. And now here we were – exactly where I needed to be to be close to her and her family.
Was it providence? Or dumb luck that two other homes failed inspection and this one became “the one”?
Well there’s more. Because the first night we were here I was out in the backyard and the neighbour woman and her two kids were out in theirs and I, being the friendly gal I am, started chatting them up. And a few hours later they all showed up at our front door with a plant and a card and big smiles and wide-open hearts and well … that was that. The beginning of beautiful relationships that I know will take me to my grave.
So yeah, even though I ended up back here for my beloved, I in turn ended up in this neighborhood not only for my old pal but also for my new pal. They both needed me and I still need both of them.
I could go on and on about friendships both old and new that have blossomed in the most unlikely manner. My former workmate with whom I was cordial but never really friendly. Perhaps even a bit competitive. And then all of a sudden years fly by, we find ourselves working for the same company again, something clicks and BAM – beautiful friendship.
Why? Why did something click now and not then? Time? Maturity? Choice? Or were we led back to each other for a reason? A reason we maybe don’t even understand yet? But a profound reason nonetheless.
When my mother was in hospice for the final week of her life, we brought in photos and memorabilia as instructed and I also brought along her beautiful and compelling memoir. A tome she had composed for my sister and me so that we might understand her and her life from its beginning. I had found a treasure trove of old photos and inserted them into this blessed recollection so that we could read and see and reminisce and learn all at the same time.
One afternoon I walked in for my second visit of the day and one of her support workers (already my favourite truth be told but they were all amazing) was sitting in the window box perusing these memoirs. She jumped up as if caught doing something naughty and said “Sorry but I am just fascinated by your mother’s musings.”
And I replied “Please be fascinated. That is why they are here. To share with the world what a fascinating woman she is.”
We had a nice long chat and I assured her she could read to hear heart’s content. We would be honoured if she did.
A few nights later my mother died. And when I showed up in my blubbering state to say farewell who was in the room but that very same PSW. We hugged, I cried, we hugged some more. And finally, as I was leaving I blurted “Email me and we’ll get together and I’ll lend you the memoirs so you can finish!”
And she jotted down her email and handed it to me and I cried my way out the door and all the way home. Where I promptly lost her email (my head wasn’t exactly screwed on straight that night).
I felt horrible. I REALLY wanted to connect with this girl. But I had blown it.
The next day I went to a local shop to buy “funeral clothes.” The owner was a casual friend of mine and as luck would have it she was there. Even though it was her day off. There had been an emergency and so there she was. She got me situated in the change-room with a bunch of stuff and I said “hey, you don’t need to hang around. I know you have stuff to do. I’m good here.”
And she replied “No. I need to stay here with you.”
And she did. And it was more meaningful than I could ever explain. I didn’t need her to help me choose an outfit. But I did need her. Didn’t know why. Just knew.
We stayed in touch and some time later she found herself in turmoil. I invited her up north to “decompress” and a true friendship was born. One that continues to blossom to this day.
So back to that lovely PSW and the lost email. A few months after my mother died I attended a fundraiser for that same hospice. There was a silent auction and I, not being one to compete at these things, found the prize I wanted, chose the “buy it now” option and proceeded to complete the business with the volunteer standing behind said prize.
The volunteer who was that very same beautiful support worker who had held me the night my mother died.
The volunteer I SO wanted to connect with.
The girl I already felt connected to except damnit I lost her email.
She was standing behind MY prize. Of all the gin-joints in the world, she walked into mine.
Coincidence? Random? Dumb luck?
I don’t believe it anymore.
She and I are now embarking on a new friendship. One that I do believe we both find weirdly special. Not really sure why. Not yet. But we’ll find out.
Because we just learned that we both have summer places on The Bruce Peninsula. We both find our true selves there, more than anywhere else. That is our happy place. And maybe this summer it will be our happy place together, a time or two.
So yeah I don’t believe in random anymore. Pay attention and you will find less coincidence and more WTF?
My mother had a hand in this one, of that I am sure.
And the others?
Not really sure. Hopefully one day I’ll find out.
In the meantime I am grateful to the gods and I am grateful to destiny. I have allowed them all to lead me to exactly where I am right now.
Truth be told I have no idea where that is.
I just know I’m on my way to where I need to go.
I will follow. Always with gratitude.