I don’t believe in coincidences. And that makes life a bit more challenging.
Why’s that? Well, I believe there’s reason behind everything, so I can’t just dismiss these experiences as chance. They prompt me to ask myself, “Self, why?” I tend to end up with a lesson learned more often that a phenomenon explained.
One such experience happened as I looked out from the ninth floor of the Ernst & Young building. It was a rainy day as I recall. The floor-to-ceiling window framed much of western Atlanta. Looking out, I saw visitors entering The World of Coke, and I could make out Coke headquarters to my right. Further still, the lights above Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech loomed unillumined above Grant Field. The 75/85 confluence moved briskly, albeit almost out of sight, past Allen Plaza. Atlanta, despite the somber weather, remained active.
And then I looked down.
That’s when I saw the Atlanta Union Mission. Between the Mission and my building — both physically and metaphorically — was a vacant lot. Just a few bare trees, discarded boxes, and a small blue tarp scattered across the brown space. And then the tarp, in the corner of the lot, moved.
It wasn’t blown by wind; there was a man using it for shelter from October rain and wind. I didn’t actually see the man emerge from his make-shift shelter, but I could tell from the shape and size that it was a person, despite the lack of continued movement.
Standing there, looking down, I realized that I was in the same room in which I had interviewed for my current job.
I saw the differences and the similarities between him and me, and then marveled at the timing of that moment. Why, in its usual unassuming tone sauntered up behind and presented itself.
I thought about how fortunate I am that I have what I have — health, family, occupation — and the answer to this coincidence is “give thanks.” And there’s really so many reasons to do so.
In related news, an old friend started a blog, choosing to focus on gratitude. What a very fine place to start.