Most of the time, I believe in coincidence. Things happen. There are results, which drive other things to happen. Sometimes something big happens, sometimes nothing happens. It’s hard to know and it’s hard to read purpose in the seeming randomness of the universe. I emphatically do not believe that everything happens for a reason, and know of no doctrine that supports the concept.
But other times, I feel like things do happen for a reason.
Take the following chain of events:
– Yesterday, my Institute class was cancelled. I was kind of excited, because I had three or four things I needed to get done sooner rather than later, and I was looking at a very busy week.
– When I got home from work, the weather was so nice, I decided to go for a walk and enjoy what may have been one of the last great days of fall. This delayed my “getting things done” but it was a good cause.
– After making several “getting things done” phone calls while I was walking, I decided to walk over to a local church which has a meditation labyrinth. I’d seen a sign for it from the road while running and walking the area, and was intrigued by the concept. I found the labyrinth and walked it, further delaying my “getting things done” time frame. (Really cool experience, by the way. Well worth it, even if I cheated and only walked in and took a shortcut out.) By the time I got home, it was starting to get dark.
– Decided to start the laundry and go shopping, in that order. I didn’t really have a shopping list, but needed to pick up a few basics.
– Headed over to Meijer, and chose a really odd parking spot, further away from the grocery door than I usually park. I had a goal of when I wanted to be back home.
– Picked up the milk and cereal and a few other things, and headed to the deli counter. The line was three deep, but the counter clerk must have been new to the deli. She was Slow. Capital S Slow. It took several minutes for her to find the meat that a person in front of me requested and then five more to get it set on the slicer and sliced. And she was the only one available. I almost left three or four times, but since I’m working on my patience, I just let it go and got what I wanted.
– After getting the bread and hummus I needed, I headed for the checkouts. I had too many items (barely) for the U-Scan, and so I tried to find a checkout with a short line that was close to the door I was parked near.
– As I was loading the belt with my stuff, I noticed the woman in front of me, who I had guessed to be either Hispanic or Asian (don’t hate me, my Hispanic and Asian friends, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention, and you see a lot of both in AA). She was using a WIC card and the checker kept taking things off the order that didn’t qualify. She looked baffled. I heard one of her daughters humming to the baby in Spanish.
Here’s that moment that it was all building up to:
– I took a chance and asked the woman in Spanish if she understood what the checker was saying. She responded that she didn’t. In my (clearly) broken Spanish, I tried to interpret. (Man, my interpretation Spanish is rusty!) I was able to explain what was going on and how she could remedy the solution. (It turned out that the juice was too small and the bread was too big.) I also helped her read the remaining benefits on her receipt.
I know I wasn’t the only person in the store who could have helped. But somehow, I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. If any step along my path before that had gone differently, I probably wouldn’t have been right there, right then.
Sure, coincidence happens. I’m chalking this one up in the other column though.