Yesterday afternoon I was out running errands and one of them was proving to be especially challenging to complete. Due to a comical tale that I shall not retell (to protect the anonymity of the perpetrators), our hummingbird feeder was in need of repair. The glass feeder had separated into its constituent parts (luckily none had broken) due to a string of coincidences which are beyond the scope of this post. Somehow, the only piece that had broken was the plastic ant cup which prevents ants from gaining access to the sugar water.
I looked everywhere for it in town (Lowes, Home Depot, Target, etc.). I had purchased the original one on Amazon and I wasn’t sure I’d find the simple non-toxic water cup style locally but I was determined to finish the job this weekend and couldn’t wait for another one to be shipped. My last stop was the local hardware store, Lakeside Hardware, which always seems to have the items the big box stores don’t carry and better service to boot!
I walked to the back of the store, thinking it would most likely be in the garden section. But before I got there, two gentlemen asked if they could help me find what I was looking for. I described the ant cup and the first gentleman literally turned around to the counter he was standing in front of and picked up an ant cup with a sticky note on it. The note said, and I kid you not: “For Greg: Special Order.” He asked, “Are you Greg?”
I said “Yes, my name is Gregg, but I didn’t place a special order for one of those.” The second gentleman than chimed in: “Oh yes. There was another guy named Greg who special ordered three of these. When he came in he said he only needed two, so this one is available for sale.” The three of us then paused, looked at each other with a bit of surprise and amazement that such coincidences seem to inspire, and smiled. The last thing they said as I walked away from them and to the sales counter was: “Make sure you buy a lottery ticket right away!”
Well, I didn’t buy a lottery ticket but I did think for a bit about the nature of coincidences and their effect on our lives. I am reading Arianna Huffington’s excellent book, Thrive, and this is what she had to say about coincidences: “We don’t have to know what coincidences mean, or arrive at some grand conclusion when we encounter them. But they serve as sporadic reminders to maintain our sense of wonder, to stop every now and again and allow ourselves to be fully present in the moment and open to life’s mystery. They’re a sort of forced reboot.” Isn’t that a great point!?!
This coincidence did pique my sense of wonder and it did cause me to meditate further on the nature of life. This post is just one product of the chain of circumstances which led to this episode and the one which led me to the store in the first place. The point I suppose I am making today is that we do need to look at life with a sense of wonder, even if it seems repetitive or tedious at times.
Maintaining a childlike humility and curiosity allows you to notice and appreciate more of the rich and varied details of your days, no matter how routine they may appear on the surface. It is a free and easy way to mitigate against confirmation bias and an effective bulwark against boredom. Let yourself be awed by the mystery of life on occasion…it’s good for the soul, refreshing to the mind and an opportunity to see and as a result, potentially make, all things new.