Have any of you ever realized how freakin’ tiny this world is? And no, not in the Disney ride kind of way where animatronic figures sing in several different languages and embrace their differing ethnicities. I’m talking about meeting a random person who is somehow connected to your life or someone in it.
There have been so many instances in the last six months that have made me realize that the world is much smaller than I could have possibly realized.
First, I was in Hawaii on a vacation with my darling mother. On the last night of our trip, we got matching tattoos. Since turning 50 a few years ago, my mom decided that she would like to have something permanently etched on her body and concluded that we should get matching ink as a bonding experience. As if we weren’t already bonded enough.
Anyway, after she survived her first—and likely last—brush with the needle, it was my turn. Not to brag, but I’m good at getting tattoos (this was my fifth) and the hardest part for me is trying to stay in the same uncomfortable position for the length of the inking. So I sat there, bored out of my mind and dying to stretch my back when one of the other artists started chatting with me. He was a pretty cool guy and was taking my mind off the discomfort I was feeling. After I told him I worked for the Navy, he asked what command I worked for. I told him and his jaw dropped. When he wasn’t moonlighting as a tattoo artist, he worked for the same command in our Hawaii branch. What are the odds? I told him to keep me posted on any open positions and he enthusiastically told me to abandon the mainland for island living. I still haven’t found a position, but it’s nice to know I would already know someone in the office if I did transfer. And he likes my tat.
A few months later, I received a command-wide email informing us of some union changes. Normally, I don’t even open these types of emails, but for some reason I opened this one and the attachment that came with it. There was an official letter that I scanned and stopped when I got to the signature line. I read the name a few times thinking how familiar it sounded and when I saw the address to the office, the lightbulb went off in my head: it was my mother’s stepbrother’s wife! Having only met her once or twice, I had no idea our lives were so connected. We’ve since laughed about our unknown work associations.
If that weren’t enough, I have another story; this one not work related. I volunteer my time as a wish granter for a well-known nonprofit organization. When granting wishes, we are put into teams of two. With one wish nearly granted, I signed up for another one after I received an email about new wishes. I was partnered with a seasoned volunteer and after exchanging a few emails, decided to meet at his house so I could pick his brain about his work with the organization. Come to find out, he not only lives in my town, but literally up the street. I was able to walk to his house from my place. Talk about convenient.
I’ve always thought that the internet was making the world a smaller place, but I’m not so sure that’s true anymore. Serendipity is more than just a restaurant that serves frozen hot chocolate.
By definition, it is a fortunate accident or pleasant surprise. It appears that serendipity is playing a stronger role in our lives than I thought possible. Maybe fate is stepping in to bring people together when they need a laugh or need something to unite them.
Or maybe it really is a small world after all.