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Coincidences

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I don't believe in them—coincidences that is. I see them more as blessings from above, or whichever direction one believes blessings come from.

In a previous life when I was actively pursuing Christianity as a discipline rather than a concept, I heard a priest talk about "arrow prayers." These were, she said, little thoughts that one directed to God on behalf of oneself or more often others—as in "God please keep my children safe on their journey to Brazil", or "God please bless my friend Sue who is sick", "Thank you God for reminding to me to pee before I left home and got stuck in this traffic jam."etc.

I like that concept very much, and use it often. I can do it whenever such thoughts pop into mind, whether I'm driving my car, pushing a supermarket trolley or just lolling around in one of my nests within our home. It beats having to get down on my increasingly arthritic knees to get in touch with the divine, and I'm sure he/she doesn't mind.

In the same vein, I think that blessings are arrows moving in the opposite direction—God to us. Now the difference is that we don't always feel them. God, I believe, always feels our arrow prayers, even though he/she sometimes chooses to ignore them if they are inappropriate at that particular moment. We, however, can be just plain dumb at times and don't recognize the blessings being aimed in our direction.

However, I digress. To demonstrate my original hypothesis I want to tell you about some of the blessings which I have recognized.

In 1974, I emigrated with my first husband and two small children (then six and three years-old) to Vancouver, BC, Canada. Within six months of our landing in Vancouver, my husband and I separated.

At the time I was working part-time in downtown Vancouver, which meant I took a bus to and from work each day—a journey of about half an hour. During the few weeks after my separation, I met two people on the bus who would drastically change my life, an older man and a young woman around my age.

I should give you a bit of background into the way the transport system worked at that time. In North Vancouver, where we lived, there was a bus exchange called Phibbs. Every half hour, buses from various nefarious directions arrived at the exchange. Commuters then transferred from one bus to another and traveled to their final destinations. Now, if all the buses arrived on time there was no problem. However if for some reason a bus was late, and missed the connection time, then the commuter had to wait another half hour for the next convoy to arrive. There was no shelter or facility of any kind at Phibbs Exchange, so one was left to stand in the rain (and it often rains in Vancouver) for a miserable half hour. Incidentally, no amount of arrow prayers managed to influence the convoy timetable!

Since I used to my park my car near the exchange when I went to work, I was not affected by missed connections. On two such occasions I offered to drive my new acquaintances to their homes which were reasonably nearby, but not within walking distance.

As a result, the older man, learning of my separation and my need for a new place to live, was instrumental in getting me a three-bedroom rental apartment, in the complex where he lived, at a price I could afford.

Likewise, the young lady invited us to tea one afternoon, where I met her husband. Shortly afterward, when he was establishing a new environmental consulting business, he asked if I would be interested in setting up and running the office for him.

Around the same time, another friend of mine told me about a new day-care facility which was opening about five minutes from my new apartment. It was opposite an elementary school, which meant that children could go there for after-school care. They also took preschoolers full-time.

Hence, within the space of a couple of months I had an apartment, a job and day-time facilities for my children all within a short driving distance of each other. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Fast forward five years. Since my daughter was born, I had been on the pill. Remember, this was the 70's and although I was single, I wasn't a nun! However, I decided that after ten years, I should probably consider coming off the pill and try an IUD instead. After an examination by a gynecologist and several further tests, I was told that I had carcinoma in situ of the cervix and it was recommended I have a partial hysterectomy. Had I not gone for that initial consultation, I might not have discovered problem. In those days, we didn't have regular pap smears.

Add on another five years. By now, I was feeling long in the tooth (44 years old)! My son was living with my ex-husband and his wife and step-brother in Victoria and enrolled in Uvic. My daughter was in senior high and living with me in North Vancouver. For three years I had been dating the same fellow and we had decided to get married the following year in July. Does the relationship sound "convenient"? Well it was. Not the stuff marital bliss is made of.

In April the following year a girl friend, with whom I had once been very close, but now saw only rarely, called to ask me to have dinner with her. When we met she gave me a letter from a mutual friend now living on the East Coast of Canada. He and I had had an affair during the year before I immigrated to Vancouver, and during the period when my marriage was floundering. He had come out to Vancouver to be with me after my separation, but the timing was wrong. I needed space in which to grieve and recover before entering into another serious relationship.

Now, fourteen years later, he had undergone a divorce and had written to our mutual friend asking if I was still single. The rest is history. I broke off my engagement and visited Bob in New Brunswick. Within two weeks I knew that what I had originally thought all those years ago was merely lust was actually a much deeper emotion and one which had lain dormant all those years. A year later, on a glorious day in August, we were married in an idyllic ceremony in North Vancouver.

The incidents I have described were the most obvious examples of events in my life which I choose to look at as blessings and not coincidence.

In the interim there were many more; the interesting jobs I have landed during my career providing me with life-long friends, one of whom introduced me to choral music and an interest in performing with several choirs and in musical theater; the spacious home we bought when we moved back to BC, which enabled me to open a bed and breakfast after I was made redundant; friends I've met in various circumstances who have formed a close nuclei of supporters and have encouraged me to write (two of them are published authors in their own right).

I'm sure there will be many more intriguing events in my future, and I can't wait to experience and share them.

By the way, my name isn't Pollyanna. It's just plain old Margaret whose life has been showered with blessings.

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