Have you had one of those “small world” moments? You know, you’re on vacation or a business trip, and you meet someone for the first time, and circumstances or something leads to an information exchange that leads to, “Dang, it is a small world!”
Admittedly, some small world moments are not magical or surprising. For instance, at my high school class reunion a few reunions ago, I felt a hand on my arm and looked around to see an attractive lady with a big smile on her face. I had absolutely no idea who she was, but she knew me.
No! It was not some forgotten one-night stand or after a rugby match beer party acquaintance. I was older than her, but we’d lived in the same neighborhood years earlier. So, this was not a big, small world moment.
It was simply two people who had known each other at one time, crossing paths unexpectedly. What makes it a small-world sort of event is that it was my reunion, she was a guest of one of my classmates, and I had been living in another part of the state for years. Then there was the incident that started out as a “funny seeing you here” happenstance that ended up very meaningful.
It started with a trip to Costco with my wife. As we were walking up to the entrance, she stopped and said, “Joan?!” A lady I’d never seen before looked up and said, “Candy?” Of course, the small world moment did not end there.
As the two ladies changed directions slightly and were coming together, I looked past “Joan.” Walking behind her was a man I knew. One I had not seen in years. I said, “Scott!?” Scott said, “Eric?” The two ladies looked at each other, looked at us, and said simultaneously, “You know each other?”
Yes, we knew each other. We’d worked together for several years before Scott moved out of state for a promotion. While he was out of state building up his resume to allow him to seek an even higher-level position, I moved back to my hometown.
Unbeknownst to me, a few years before we ran into each other, he’d landed the new position he was wanting in my hometown. That is when our wives met at a Jazzercise class.
This was an amazing little, small world or coincidental meeting that turned out to be much more than that. For several years, we were a foursome. We did all the things friends do together until four years ago.
Yes, four years ago, we had our last meal together. It was a Valentine’s Day dinner and the last time we saw Scott. A few days later, they joined another couple for a Caribbean getaway, and Joan came home a widow.
Scott’s loss was difficult. His best friend and colleague took his death extremely hard and considered Scott’s decision to swim in heavy tides as reckless behavior that should never have happened. His angst made him withdraw from Joan, and me, for that matter.
Joan is intelligent and resilient. She would have made it through the mourning and adjusting period on her own. However, her family was hundreds of miles away, and Scott’s oldest comrade in arms, you might say, withdrew from her world.
Think what you will. Whether it was a chance meeting, a gift from the universe, or the God of the Bible had a hand in it, the meeting at Costco was more than an accident. Candy and I have been blessed to be there for our friend.
Photo by Sebastian Arie Voortman: Rough Waves
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