Do You Believe in Destiny?
I’ve met some of the most incredible souls in my lifetime. Just when I thought I had reached my credit limit on friendships, the path on my journey widens with a few more footprints walking alongside me in this thing called life. I am in awe of how many people have recently landed on my path or perhaps I landed on theirs. I guess you could call them your destiny walkers. As new relationships are forming, my existing relationships are evolving, developing and morphing into something more beautiful than before. Whether it’s an up close and personal encounter or a pal halfway around the globe, I believe every single person is there for a reason.
I was chatting with an old college friend, whom I had not spoken with in years. There was nothing wrong; we just lost touch. We are now laughing about how we came to reconnect and picked up just where we left off without missing a beat. We’re still wondering what purpose this reconnection serves, but we believe there is something greater at work.
That experience reminds me of an encounter I had around this time in 2017. I was sitting in a car dealership with my dad, and the idea of having a car note after five years of freedom was messing with me. As I sat there examining why cars cost so much money, I noticed this older gentleman named Fred. I wrote about Fred in a blog last year. I don’t know what it was about Fred, but I felt as if I knew him. A couple of hours later, I noticed a commotion and Fred was on the floor unable to speak and awaiting the paramedics. Fred’s situation sat with me that day. When I went for a run, I couldn’t get Fred off my mind. I prayed over a perfect stranger for days, not knowing Fred’s status or if the grim prognosis his co-workers shared was accurate or embellished. Here’s an account of that day with Fred, if you’d like to know more.
The strangest thing happened just three months later. One of my sweet friends and fellow room mom convinced me to join her in the blazing hot May sun to chaperone our antsy second graders at a baseball game field trip. Everyone knows I love baseball, and I hadn’t planned to participate in this field trip, but a last effort ask landed me following a school bus to watch the local farm team. As I sat there with my crew of adorable kiddos, I saw this man that looked familiar. As he got closer, I realized it was Fred! The same Fred that his car dealership coworkers described as having a stroke and perhaps never returning to work again. They were right. Fred didn’t return to the dealership. He got another job working as an usher at the baseball stadium. Fred could’ve been assigned to anywhere in that ballpark. I could’ve turned down the last minute ask to chaperone. But there we were, out in the blazing Georgia heat, in the middle of the week. I told Fred how happy I was to see him, and how my prayers were answered after that scare at the dealership. Fred was doing well, and defied the initial prognosis, recovery and any other speculation of grim circumstances. I was supposed to be there. I was supposed to see God’s glory revealed in Fred’s circumstance, and I was supposed to share his story. [Photo: Fred working the G-Braves game].
One of my most memorable stories of destiny happened at my former job with the energy utility. We produced a monthly publication, and I was the editor-in-chief. For 13 years I traveled around our service territory capturing stories of customers using our service or products. This story is my lifetime favorite, and while I’m excited about a few in the works, I couldn’t mastermind a better love story. My photographer and I arrived at Bob and Jenny’s (names changed) farmhouse, and the first thing we noticed was their Boston accents. We were covering their newly installed HVAC unit, so we thought. Bob was retired, and Jenny was semi-retired. They were cute. Bob’s sense of humor kept Jenny blushing like a school girl. They held hands as they showed us around their farm. So eventually we had to ask how long the Bostonians had been married. We were expecting 40 years or more and were surprised to hear just short of 12 years. Why I’m trying to wrap this gem up in a blog is beyond me. This place doesn’t do it justice, but here goes.
Bob met Jenny at a junior high school dance. He was in the 8th grade, and she was in the 7th. He saw her standing on the second-floor balcony of the dance hall. Bob says he told his best friend, “I’m going to marry that girl.” He even remembered exactly what she was wearing down to the color ribbons in her hair. Bob asked Jenny to dance and they dated throughout junior and high school. Near senior year, Bob said his mom encouraged him to break up with Jenny. She thought they were too young to be so serious about each other. Bob said in those days, you listened to your parents, even if you didn’t want to do what they asked. Bob broke up with Jenny.
They graduated and went separate ways and on to live separate lives. Both would spend decades married to other people. One day, Bob, who was now a widower, told his best friend (the same one from junior high) that he still thought of Jenny often and wished he could see her again. The friend decided to do an internet search for Jenny’s father’s name, and they found a match. The only problem was that this man lived in Florida, not Boston, but Bob took a chance and called anyway. It was Jenny’s father. Jenny was a widow and had moved to Florida to help her father take care of her ailing mother. Bob says he talked to Jenny every day for several weeks, and then he finally visited Florida to court Jenny properly. They both described meeting again with the same excitement and butterflies from decades ago. They dated long distance for a few months before getting married just a short time after Jenny’s mother passed away.
Bob found a beautiful farmhouse and moved Jenny and her 90+-year-old father up from Florida to live with them in northeast Georgia. Bob shared that it felt as if they never stopped dating, and those decades apart were like days. It still gives me chills thinking about the way this man described his still-blushing bride. Stevie Wonder said it best, He Was Made to Love Her. The story got even better. Not only did Bob and Jenny use one of the utility’s customer discounts for their HVAC unit, they had also completed a recent energy audit, had service with the utility’s security company, had a life alert monitor for her dad from the security company, had recently completed some do-it-yourself projects from the utility’s video channel and had just received their rebates for their energy efficiency improvements. This story was the motherload. I came to cover one thing; now I had six of the company’s products as feature stories for the next few publications. This is what one would describe as a honey hole and I fell in it faster than Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too. Their love story was so beautiful, we featured it as a sidebar to the main product story, featured the video interview on YouTube and even submitted it to an Atlanta radio station that does features on “Stories of Destiny.”
While Fred’s story differs from Bob and Jenny’s, both speak to the beauty that is destiny. I have no doubt that Bob and Jenny were destined to be together, they just happened to detour off each other’s paths for a few decades. I’m positive that I was supposed to witness what happened to Fred, see him fully recovered a few months later and share his story. Maybe someone needed to read it. Whatever the reasons, destiny is undefeated and the real MVP. I have countless stories about taking a different route and running into someone I hadn’t seen in years or deciding to go for a quick Wal-Mart trip and end up sharing advice about blogging with a fellow blogger who just needed a push to press publish. Sometimes it’s a feeling to call or text someone at just the moment they needed it most. I find it most interesting that people in my close circle are going through similar circumstances – from mommy woes to writing to serving as caregivers to aging parents, there’s a common thread among the destiny walkers on my journey. I bet you can find commonalities in your circle as well. Do you believe they are there by circumstance, happenstance or because they were destined to serve a purpose?
This is one of my favorite dinner party topics. I want to hear from you. What are some instances where you knew beyond everything that destiny was at play in your life?