Serendipity, Happenstance and Love

I discovered a new blog today called One Thousand Single Days. A young woman, now divorced with two young sons, who has committed to spending the next 1,000 days to being single.

An excerpt from her blog: 

“One thousand days of being single… No men, no dating, no flirting, no kisses, no romantic love, no valentines day, nothing.

I intend to use this time to address some of the issues I have… I am very stubborn… I have shockingly low self esteem, I get jealous, I can get really angry….
I want to learn to be whole.”

Her words touched me. How well I could relate.

http://onethousandsingledays.com/what-does-one-thousand-days-even-mean-2/

My blog is not nearly as well-laid out as hers is. And I barely have any followers. But those things do not matter to me.

My main focus is picking up the pieces of my broken life. And not just simply putting them back together again.

But creating a new picture.

I do not want to go back to the insecure little girl who grew up feeling ugly and different and misunderstood.

I want to create something new. A new life that fits the new me: the me who is alone again, who lost her job. The me who thought she’d found the love of her life, who has now since disappeared.

The me who has two beautiful, sweet little girls who make me realize that each day is a gift, and should never be taken for granted.

I do not have the luxury of being a 27 year old woman who can devote 1,000 days to being single.

Instead I want time and chance, or serendipity, to choose my fate for me.

Serendipity: A “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.

There are no guarantees of tomorrow. Even those who have found love today, are not promised a forever.

The only thing we have control of, is how we view each opportunity presented to us. The man who says he will end up alone, is right. He will end up alone.

The woman who says she will find love again, is right. She will find love again.

The person who sees beauty in the ordinary, will also see the possibility of the future.

Things happen for a reason. That is something I will always believe.

Each experience leads us to a better understanding of ourselves, and presents a new opportunity for tomorrow.

You can’t fast forward to the next chapter of your life without first experiencing the now.

Puzzles are intricate and challenging. But piece by piece a beautiful picture begins to unfold.

It’s impossible to make some pieces fit. So toss them aside and make room for those that will. Something better.

Believe that all things- good and bad- happen for a reason.

* * *

A scene from Serendipity: a man and woman meet. Strangers, both engaged to marry others, who are immediately attracted to one another.

The woman, Sara, decides that if they were meant to be, destiny will bring them together again. Ether now or in the future. They know only a few pieces of information about each other, not including the other’s last name.

They scrawl their full names and telephone numbers on a $5 bill and a used book. Sara believes that if they are destined to be together, one of them will find either the book or five dollar bill by happenstance. But only IF they are meant to be together.  Without any contact information, they part ways.

Sara: You don’t have to understand. You just have to have faith.
Jonathan: Faith in what?
Sara: Destiny.

* * *

Last spring, my boyfriend planned a trip for us to Colorado. He put it on his credit card. A week later, I went to the bank and withdrew five one hundred dollar bills.

I was happy in love. I recall the five crisp $100 bills. As I sat at my desk one afternoon, I took a black Sharpie and in perfect handwriting I wrote “You” on one, “are” on another, “so” on the third, and finally “SEXY” on the fourth. On the fifth, I wrote his name, “Adam.” I embellished each one with red hearts. Silly, but sweet.

The next day, I gave him the five bills. He smiled and kissed me.

Right before our trip, I discovered that he was still on a dating website. I was devastated.

I told him I could no longer go on the trip with him and one morning before work, I stopped by his house. Without a word, he handed the five $100 bills back to me.

I was upset. Distressed. Beyond hurt.

Later that week, my daughters and I stopped at a Burger King drive-thru.

I reached into my purse and pulled out the folded $100 bills. I hesitated for a moment. Then without a second thought, I handed the teenage boy at the window the one marked “sexy.” It was emblazoned with big red hearts. My daughters, who rarely miss a trick, noticed it and started questioning me.

A minute later, the boy handed me back my change. We drove home.

One by one, I spent all of the $100 bills, saving the one marked “Adam” for last.

As I type, those five $100 bills are all floating around now.

* * *

I’m going to the bank. Maybe today.

I’m going to withdraw $100. Maybe three $20 bills, some tens and fives. Who knows? On a select few, I am going to write…. something. I’m not sure what yet.

Maybe some statement or word that perhaps trigger a memory that only he would know the meaning of.

Then I am going to spend them. All of them.

Not right away, but over the next few weeks or so. At the grocery store. At the mall… I’m not going to plan where. Just where ever.

Will he ever come across one of them again?

When he stops at Best Buy to pick up a new cell phone charger, will the clerk hand him one?

One night when he’s hungry and decides to stop at Taco Bell after work, will he receive one back in his change?

Or maybe some night, when he takes a new girl out on a date, he’ll pay for their drinks.  He’ll order a gin and tonic. Or maybe a beer.

No, he’ll definitely want to impress her, so he will order the gin. Or perhaps Scotch on the rocks.

The bartender will hand him his change back. He’ll mindlessly shove the bills into his pocket and go back to his date.

She is pretty. She has a nice smile. At that moment, she is all he will see.

The next day he’ll go about his day. Laundry day will come. Or maybe he’ll decide to wear those same jeans again.

He’ll pull them on. Later, he’ll reach into his pocket. And then. He will see it. On a five dollar bill. Or maybe on a ten.

My handwriting. My words. He’ll see me.

And he will……?

What? I don’t know. Maybe nothing. Or maybe… something.

Corny, I know. But more like close to impossible.

Or maybe not so impossible.

Whatever happens after that…. I choose to let fate decide.

Serendipity or not.

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The Funeral

I did not write this.

A friend sent this to me recently. It touched me and I wanted to share.

Enjoy….

Consumed by my loss, I didn’t notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend – my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father’s death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When mother’s illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle female child without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it an honor.

‘What now, Lord?’ I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife’s hand. My sister sat slumped against her husband’s shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child. All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone. My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together. Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished, and I was alone. I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor.

An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears. He began to sniffle. ‘I’m late,’ he explained, though no explanation was necessary. After several eulogies, he leaned over and commented, ‘Why do they keep calling Mary by the name of ‘Margaret?” ‘Because, that was her name, Margaret. Never Mary, no one called her ‘Mary,” I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn’t have sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?

‘No, that isn’t correct,’ he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, ‘her name is Mary, Mary Peters.’ ‘That isn’t who this is.’ ‘Isn’t this the Lutheran church?’ ‘No, the Lutheran church is across the street.’ ‘Oh.’ ‘I believe you’re at the wrong funeral, Sir.’ The solemnness of the occasion mixed with the realization of the man’s mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter. I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs. The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious. I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me. He was laughing too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit. I imagined Mother laughing. At the final ‘Amen,’ we darted out a door and into the parking lot. ‘I do believe we’ll be the talk of the town,’ he smiled. He said his name was Rick and since he had missed his aunt’s funeral, asked me out for lunch.

That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place. A year after our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time.

In my time of sorrow, I found laughter and love. This past June, we celebrated our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them, ‘Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it’s truly a match made in heaven.’

Remember, God doesn’t make mistakes. He puts us where we are supposed to be.