Fate and the Narrowly Missed Connections of Your Life

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On Saturday night, Garrett and I went downtown to meet my good friend (and lawyer!) Lisa Fraley and her husband Scott, who were in the city for the weekend. And we thought we’d take the opportunity to go a few hours early and stroll the holiday-decorated streets and shops.

I’ll be totally honest that, as the years go by, I find myself less and less inclined to journey to the busyness of downtown—especially around the holidays. But this was the perfect excuse to get me out of my usual routine. So there we found ourselves, armed with hot chocolate and admiring the dazzling displays of white lights

As we walked through Boston Common, it occurred to me that I’ve only ever been to the tree lighting once—exactly 10 years ago. Coincidentally, that was the only time Garrett had ever been there before. We were both there without having seen one another.

And, even though we had known each other, we wondered how many missed connections we’d had in our life. How many times we’d narrowly missed one another. And if one small thing had been different, that maybe we wouldn’t be together today.

Garrett told me a miraculous story about a co-worker or friend who was looking through old photos of a vacation from when she was a child—nowhere near her hometown—and saw that her husband was in the background as a little boy.

And it just makes me think. About how impossibly unlikely it is that Garrett and I are together. But we are.

I think about a story about my parents own missed connection that makes me laugh. They had a few before they actually met. But my favorite is that they were at a club. And a friend wanted to introduce my mom to my date. But she saw her had a full beard (as disguise to look like his older brother, whose ID he was using), and she thought he looked disgusting. He thought she looked uptight and judgmental. And they never met that night.

Later, on their own accord, they met (my dad now clean-shaven and of age). And they found out about all the times they were supposed to meet before but missed it for whatever reason.

My sister tells another really great story of a friend of ours. They were all out at a bar around the holidays, and a man they thought was creepy was hitting on our friend. So, my sister said, “He’s creepy. Don’t talk to him. Here—use this random guy as a shield.” She’s now married and has kids with that ‘random guy.’

Just funny how life works out sometimes. We have no way of knowing what moments are going to lead us somewhere magical. I’ve gotten offered job opportunities at bars and on planes. I’ve made major life decisions because of off-hand comments. I’ve missed accidents—and opportunities—by mere seconds.

It’s hard not to feel that some greater cosmic force is at place when we see all of these little moments in hindsight.

It makes me wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t had the courage to be with Garrett. Would my turn have come around again? Would it be over for good? Would the Universe keep conspiring to send me to the right place at the right time, as it had so many times before?

That somewhat cheesy quote from Jenna Elfman’s angel stripper in Can’t Hardly Wait comes to mind: “There is fate, but it only takes you so far, because once you’re there, it’s up to you to make it up.”

The intersection of destiny and free will. The call for courage and intuition in every single moment. Because we never know what moment is going to bring us what we’re looking for. In fact, in my experience, it’s often the moments where I’m not expecting something that it comes along.

It reminds me to have courage. To take chances. To take risks. To always be authentic. And to say yes to myself. Even if I have no idea what that means or where it will take me.

Sometimes it means walking a way I’m not used to (like downtown). Sometimes it means being outgoing or friendly or not afraid to share myself. Sometimes that means signing up when I’m scared. Sometimes it just means saying yes to the next adventure.

There are so many miracles in this world. But we can only accept them if we say yes.

Will you say yes?

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