Monthly Musing – February 2022 – Serendipity
We are in the car on the way to school. It’s raining – again – and we’re sitting at temporary traffic lights. Not so small daughter is starting to get agitated as it’s the first day of her mock exams and she wanted to be extra-early.
A man holding a small girl’s hand walks past the car. He’s carrying her school bag and she’s skipping along beside him.
A police car drives past us in the opposite direction.
The traffic lights change and we drive off. Someone is coming out of their front door, someone else is opening their curtains, there are people at the petrol station filling their cars with fuel.
Whilst I am writing this, you might be making dinner, or watching TV, or out for a walk. You could be doing any one (or a few) of a million things and even though we breathe the same air, walk with our feet on the ground and smile in exactly the same way, we are as different as could be. We are all living our lives and we can never know exactly what someone else is doing.
It’s something that has always caught my interest. My first job was in Manchester and involved commuting by train. I loved the time of the year when it was dark enough to pass houses with lights on where they had not yet closed the curtains. I was fascinated by those brief glimpses into someone else’s life and I often wondered if those people even noticed the train that sped past with people on board looking out of the windows. For those few seconds, our lives touched and then they moved on. I would never know the people in the houses and they would never know me.
So many people, so many moments, and yet there are times when by the most amazing of coincidences, people come together. How many stories have we heard of serendipitous encounters for romance, for business, for friendship – and how does that work when even a split second later and they might never happen at all?
I can’t pretend this month that my thoughts are not coloured by world events; that “there but for the grace of God” isn’t something that has crossed my mind. Any one of us could have been born into a different place and time, and we could be one of the faces on a TV news story. Too much wondering about these things can lead your mind into down some strange avenues (or mine, at least) and so I focus instead on what good I can do from this place and time that I have been born into – something I was taught years ago at meditation classes and which really does stop the downward spiralling.
It will probably be raining again tomorrow and not so small daughter has another exam. Someone else will be filling their car with fuel at the petrol station, people will wait at the bus stop and life may not seem so very different – but serendipity is a funny thing and who knows what may be in store for us and who we may meet, our lives touching only for a brief moment but changing forever in the process and perhaps, just perhaps, doing some good.