Do you believe that major events in our lives are random or foretold?
There is a Yiddish term…beshert, that translates as ‘meant to be,’ as in preordained. As a therapist and minister, as well as someone who has always been curious spiritually, I have long pondered this question.
I think back to the moments when I have encountered those people whom I call kindred spirits. That instantaneous recognition that tells us serendipity has just occurred, and that an ‘appointment’ was made long before we came face to face. I marvel at how often it happens and encourage you to be aware of it yourself.
A few potent examples have occurred over the years that have had me shaking my head in awe of the dynamic as it has played out.
- Almost 25 years ago, I was standing in a checkout line of a local supermarket. The woman in front of me was wearing a necklace with the same design as earrings I had on. I remarked about it and the cashier who knew us both, introduced us and said that we were both writers, so we had that in common as well.
We took each other’s phone numbers and stayed in touch over the years. She became a literary mentor for me as she reminded me that, “writers write.” I adopted it as a mantra. We became busy with life, but kept up on each other’s activities through the marvels of modern technology and the phenom of Facebook. We assured each other that we would get together eventually.
A few days ago, I was in a dollar store with another friend, Lisa Bustamante. We had just worked out at the gym and were en route to lunch. I turned to go down an aisle and who should be standing before me, but my friend Donna Dvorak Del Governatore. We laughed and hugged and marveled at the timing. Had either of us been there earlier or later, we would have missed each other. What was even more remarkable was that this store was in the same shopping center as our initial meeting.
- A few months ago, I met a new friend via Facebook named Tom Ziemann who lives in Portland, Oregon. We were introduced online via a mutual friend named Betsy Chasse, who is one of the producers of the iconic 2004 film called What the Bleep Do We Know? In numerous conversations, we have expressed that neither of us believes in coincidence or the random nature of the universe.
Today, it occurred to me to introduce Tom to a high school friend named Dan Poor who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Once again, I found myself in head-shaking who-would-have-imagined mode that they had already crossed paths since Dan had worked at the gym in Portland where Tom worked out. Clearly an intelligent force was at work here.
- Nearly two years ago, I met a man of many talents; one among them is that he is a Forrest Gump impersonator. He was in full character when we spoke at a music festival in Camden, New Jersey in 2014. Turns out that although Paul Dengler lives in the Nashville area, he grew up 10 minutes from where I live now.
About a year ago, he was in the process of writing a book called Pray For Shrimp that is slated to be out this year. I asked if he would like me to edit it for him. He said he would consider it and get back to me. Shortly afterward, I was sitting with a woman named LeeAnne Englert, who is both a therapist and tarot card reader. She and I had never met, so she knew nothing about me.
Her initial remarks to me were along the lines of, “Is there a room in your house that is used for storage that you want to renovate for an office or guest room?” I was astounded, since the room that had once belonged to my son was at that time, a repository for my parents’ belongings after they had had died, as well as boxes and stacks of magazines of which I had been publisher from 1988-1998. I was reluctant to go in there, let alone attempt to tackle cleaning and painting it.
A few days later, Paul contacted me and suggested that we barter my editing skills for having him paint a room in my house. One of Paul’s hats is that of a faux finish painter. Keep in mind that Paul had never been to my house, didn’t have a clue about the room, nor did he know about my session with LeeAnne.
In the past, this type of experience would have had me humming the Twilight Zone theme. These days, I see it as normal. Paul did indeed paint the room and I edited his book. He and I speak often about the way events seem to be orchestrated ‘by divine design.’
The film Forrest Gump is awash in that concept as the character shows up in the right place at the right time to have the adventures that lead him to play ping pong in China after getting ‘shot in the butt-ocks,’ and on the shrimp boat out at sea when Hurricane Carmen slammed the Louisiana coastline in 1974. This allowed him to become a ‘gazillionaire’ and invest in ‘that fruit company (Apple)’.
- Today, after a chiropractic appointment with my friend Darin Mazepa, I was speaking with another ‘practice member,’ which is a politically correct way to which clients are referred. Like me, Chrystal is ordained as clergy. I took it upon myself to ask her questions that I often pose to those with a spiritual orientation. The first was the idea that frames this article. Her response was, “Everything is according to purpose and plan, but we have the choice about how we deal with it.”
That presupposes free will. I then asked her to discern the difference between belief, knowing, and faith, since they are paradigms with which I wrestle at times. Her answer was beautifully stated: ” Knowing is in your head, belief is in your heart, and faith is acting upon both of them.” I call it inspired action. What was even more remarkable about my encounter with Chrystal was that I was running late because of traffic and had I gotten there earlier, I might have missed her. Seems we were called together to inspire that conversation.
What I have come to both believe in my heart and know in my head, is that when we are meant to meet someone, nothing can prevent it from occurring. Each day, I put that into action, setting intention to have extraordinary experiences and meet amazing people and each day I do.