For my entire life, I have been aware that I have a little bit of….well….ESP. Or some kind of mind reading skill. Or maybe a weird kind of serendipity. Or something.
When I was little, I learned about this skill from my Mom, who had an absolutely uncanny ability to identify the caller when the phone rang. “Oh, its Nana”, she’d say calmly as she reached for the ringing phone. I just sort of assumed that everyone had the same skill. As I got older, though, I realized that Mom’s talent was unusual, to say the least.
Later, when I was in my teens, I discovered that I had the same strange ability to recognize or create moments of perfect symmetry. Moments of strange coincidence.
Let me give you some examples.
When I was 17, I was an exchange student. I was sent to Tunisia to live with a family for three months, learning about the culture and language. As part of the trip, I attended a two day orientation in NY City. My group, the Tunisia kids, consisted of 18 teenaged Americans from all over the country. I was put in a room with three other young women, and told that I would share a double bed with one of them. We randomly paired off, and I found myself bunking in with the lovely Patty, of Long Island. As we chatted and asked questions and slowly got to know each other, we realized that we shared a birthday. In fact, we were born within ten minutes of each other. Both of us were the second child in Italian American Families. Both had older brothers. Both had a younger sister named Liz; they were born four days apart!
It was weird, and we knew it. We are still friends.
When I grew up and had my own children, I moved to this small town in Central Massachusetts. I made some friends, but didn’t realize that my odd talent for coincidence had followed me here. Not until my youngest child fell in love for the very first time. The young lady of his dreams has a wonderful Mom, who quickly became a friend. She also happens to share my birthday, in date if not in year. Sweet! And that’s not all, oh no. The young lady’s oldest brother went off to West Point after graduating from High School. Where he became close friends with (are you ready?) the oldest son of my friend from Long Island.
Seriously weird, right?
I have begun to believe that I carry a certain “karma”, too. A certain sense of payback, for good or ill.
I once provided speech/language support to a little girl at our school, even though she did not technically qualify for “special education.” I knew that I could help her, and so I did. I got a LOT of pressure and pushback from the rest of the special ed world, but I held my ground, and I helped the child.
Fast forward some 12 years, and the mother of that child became the mentor and teammate of my daughter when mine became a new teacher in our district. Karma, right? Coincidence. Serendipity.
My life is filled with these kinds of small connections.
Today I had a busy day, putting the garden to bed, cleaning the house, correcting 24 essays. At last the day began to wane, and I put dinner in the oven. I poured a glass of wine and pulled out a piece of stationary. This week is the birthday of one of my dearest and oldest friends. We met some 35 years ago, and became incredibly close. We sang in a choir together, worked as interpreters together, shared the angst of our twenties. Paul and I even introduced her to her husband! Our children were friends. She is one of the people who knows me best in all the world.
She moved across the country long ago, but we have somehow managed to hold onto the love that we feel for each other. This afternoon, my heart and mind were filled with images of my dear Deb, and all of the wonderful memories that we have shared over all these years. I sat down, and I wrote her a long and tender birthday note. I sealed it, put on a stamp, placed in on the countertop where I will be sure to mail it in the morning.
And then I booted up my email. And there it was. For the first time in at least a year, my technology averse friend Deb had sent me an email. Talking about every single item that I had written about in my note. Every one.
I don’t know exactly what this is. I don’t know if I have a strange kind of ESP or what. All I know is that I am surrounded by coincidences that don’t seem to be a coincidence. I am supported by a sense of karma that prevents me from being cruel or cold to strangers, who may one day turn out to be my greatest supports.
I don’t know what this is.
But I REALLY like it a lot.