|Photo: Geran de Klerk|
Sometimes when we least expect it, the events of the day put us on a path of destiny.
A while back, I made plans to stop at the library just long enough to pick up a book when I spotted a friend whom I hadn't seen in years.
Most of us have probably run into friends and acquaintances by chance, but this meeting was different.
That day, I didn't expect to see someone who had worked in the same department at the hospital as I had some thirty years ago. But there she was, on her way out of the library. I called out her name. She looked up and smiled. After a hug, I asked her how she was doing. Without a trace of emotion, she told me she was dying.
I was shocked, not only to learn of her predicament but that she seemed indifferent. Or, was it she had come to accept her fate? After she explained the details of her prognosis, I wondered: why did we meet on this day, at this place, at this exact time? Was there a purpose to this reunion?
At the time, I didn't realize that this may be synchronicity at work, the meaningful coincidences that play a role in our lives.
Author and public speaker Deepak Chopra defines synchronicity as an unexpected coincidence that happens to break statistical probabilities. It is a conspiracy of improbabilities. He believes that synchronicity happens when improbable events come together and move you into an extended state of awareness and enhance your intuitive abilities.
As Jan revealed more details of her condition, I didn't know what to say, but I felt an overwhelming sadness. This emotional impact is part of synchronicity.
Mark Holland, co-author of Synchronicity "The primary reality of synchronicities is emotional, not intellectual." He he reason they’re there is to make us feel something and to show that our lives are rich and worth reflecting upon.
One time, Jan came by the house with a rabbit so that our young daughter could play with it. Not long after that 'play date,' I retired from the working at the hospital. That was the last time I saw her. Happy bunny memories. And now this.
|Photo: James Wheeler|
In Psychology Today, former Cincinnati reporter Gregg Levoy says Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, "believed that synchronicities mirror deep psychological processes, carry messages the way dreams do, and take on meaning and provide guidance to the degree they correspond to emotional states and inner experiences."
One only had to look at a recent event in my past to understand a possible meaning as to why I ran into Jan.
I understood the illness.
About two years earlier, my sister-in-law Barb died of a brain tumor, a glioblastoma—the same diagnosis as Jan's. My husband and I became Barb's caregivers from diagnosis to death. Little by little, the cancer robbed her of doing daily tasks like getting dressed and using silverware. It robbed her of vocabulary—her words came out as gibberish. Perhaps the reason for running into Jan was that I had been called upon to be available if she needed help.
Jan's closest family lives 500 miles away. So, I volunteered to give her with rides. On one occasion, I drove her to a doctor's appointment. When we arrived, Jan needed to fill out papers for insurance records. The complications of her illness affected her memory. She had forgotten her house number, but I was able to remind her. Then as she continued to fill out the form, she came across a place for her birth date. She grinned at me and said she remembered. April 16th.
Jan was born on the same day as my father.
While there is no evidence that synchronicity exists, there are amazing coincidences that happen all the time. Are they the result of random chance? Or, do they convey some hidden meaning? Only you can decide.
More questions ran through my mind. Why did I run into Jan now instead of years earlier? Why was it me instead of another co-worker? If I had run an errand before going to the library, we would have never met. How could it be that the timing was so perfect?
Of course, I will never know the answers. But I believe there has to be a reason and it makes me wonder and reflect. How can this not be a meaningful coincidence? How can this not be destiny? How can this not be meant to be?