This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Friday, December 4, 2009

An Unseen Force

           Yesterday morning I was going through what has now become my daily ritual  of moderating comments on my blog and checking through the Reading List of blogs that I am following.  One of the first posts that I came across was from Jane Sutton on her blog,  Jane's Ride .   She was talking about the "Law of Stackable Hamsters" and talking about coincidence as it occurs in real life and how it should be approached in fiction.  She cited a real life example of receiving a phone call from an old friend who one hasn't spoken to in a while.  The hamster stack was a funny image and she had a good point about coincidence. It's something I try to avoid when I'm writing.

           Later, as I was linking to bloggers unfamiliar to me who had commented on other blogs that I was looking at,  I came across some blogs of writers who were interested in the field of children's books.  I am not one who is interested in this topic, but whenever I go to a new blog I note what the topic is and read about it even though I might not retain the specifics of what they were talking about. These blogs that I looked at were about children's literature--fine--I may never go back and don't remember what blogs they were.

          After a while I decided that I really needed to go to the blood lab to have my blood tested for the coumadin level.  For those not familiar, coumadin is a blood thinner, which in my case is to prevent strokes and things like that.  I was overdue and the clinic had called me Wednesday to tell me that I needed to go in for a test.  I hate going to the clinic, but my morning had reached a sort of lull and I decided that I should go to get the blood test out of the way.

          When I arrived at the testing lab, I saw that there quite a few people waiting.  I figured that I would be waiting about a half an hour. I sat there in the near capacity waiting room just looking at the people, a pasttime that I always enjoy. Besides I had intended to bring a new book to start reading and I had left the book at home.  A fairly large pear-shaped man with pants pulled nearly up to his chest sat across the room from me.  I had seen him checking in at the counter and noted that he looked like a quite affable fellow.  As I watched him sitting there I noticed him pull out a new, thick paperback book and begin reading.   I envied him that he had a book to read and I didn't.  I wished I could see which book it was.  Then I guess his number must have been called because I had turned away and when I looked back he was gone.

         So I continued to wait.  No one in particular now caught my attention and I began to think about some of the problematic points in the novel I had just completed for NaNo. At that point my mind drifted. The clock read 11:50.  I began to think about Dan Holom, an old friend of mine who had been my best friend in junior high school when I lived in Crown Point, Indiana over 40 years ago. Dan eventually moved to Arkansas.  I had lost contact with him for nearly 30 years but had reconnected with him a few years back. As I sat waiting I started thinking about how I hadn't talked to Dan in a good while and I should call him.
        Finally, number 232 was called to the blood drawing station #19.   Relieved, I immediately got up to get my blood sample taken.  As I was leaving, I felt my cell phone vibrate in my pocket.  I looked and the display said I had a message.  Apparently there had been no reception in the waiting room. I checked the message and the voice said, "Lee, this is Dan Holom. Can you give me a call when you get a chance." He had called me at the moment that I was thinking of him in the waiting room at 11:50. Was it a coincidence?

       Consider this if you will:  in 2005 I began wondering about my friend Dan and began researching him on the internet.  I knew he had moved to Arkansas back in the 70s and had become a youth pastor at a large church, but the address and phone number that I had for him had long been obsolete. After some research I located a Dan Holom (I figured there couldn't be too many people with that name) and had an address and a phone number.  I wrote it down and put it next to my computer with the intent of calling him sometime. A few days later, I received a call at work.  I'm sure you've guessed it.  It was Dan Holom calling me.  He said he'd been trying to find me and finally had found my mother's number in Tennessee and called her.  She gave him my number. Now was that a coincidence?

        I finally got to see him the following Spring in 2006.  He had written a children's book and was coming to the Los Angeles area to meet with an illlustrator who would be collaborating with him.  I invited him to stay with my wife and I during his brief visit.  We had not seen each other for at least 30 years, but it seemed like we had just left off from yesterday.  We looked older, but the friendship was like it was. We had a great time catching up with things. Since that visit we have kept in touch by phone, email, and postal mail.

        Today when he came to mind I realized it had been two months or more since we had spoken.  After I got his message, I called him.  I asked what had happened with the children's book that he had written.  He told me that everything was ready and he just needed to find a publisher.  He was stymied and he had been praying a lot about it.  I told him how I had started this blog and that he might want to start one also. I mentioned about the blogs that I had run across that were by writers of books for children and about how starting a blog would be a good way for him to promote what he was doing and start networking.

         You might want to call it coincidence. Or some may say it was the power of prayer and God working in our lives.  You might even say that Dan and I have some kind of telepathic power going on. Whatever it is, there is some sort of unseen force in the works here.  I think its kind of cool, but it is also mysterious.

          By the way, if Dan gets his blog started and you happen to run across it, make sure you stop by to say hello to him.  He's one heck of a nice guy and I told him there's a lot of nice people out there blogging.

           What do you make of this story?  Do you believe in ESP or telepathy?  Have you had a person in your life who just seems to weave their way in and out through the years with seemingly mysterious happenstance?


  1. Thanks for mentioning my blog. I found your story of coincidence fascinating. Patricia Stoltey left a comment on my coincidence post that said,“…But it's true that coincidence is easier to accept in real life than it is in fiction. Isn't that odd?” I think she made a really good point.

  2. All minds are connected via the One Eternal Mind which created us all. Stories like this don't surprise me in the least. What surprises me is that we don't hear about them happening more often. But I think we can attribute that to general lack of awareness about our circumstances. After all, if a person got knocked on the head, he might forget that he has a million dollars in the bank and thus walk the streets begging for spare change.

    ~ Stephen
    <"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
    so a fool repeats his folly."
    ~ Proverbs 26:11>

  3. It is funny how fate has us crossing paths with certain people again and again. There are a few in my life who I bump into a few times every year without fail, and others who live in the same town that I never ever see. I'm not sure why, except that we travel similar paths!

  4. Jane -- give credit where due as is said. My reading your post probably made my coincidental circumstance more noticed by me and helped add to my recounting ot the story.

    Stephen -- I agree with what you say. Many times coincidence is barely noticed by many of us. And when some of us do notice something that seems truly to be extraordinary we wouldn't want to attach the source to a greater force beyond ourselves.
    Oh, thanks for jarring my memory about that million that I had forgotten about -- what a coincidence that you should mention it now when I need it the most --- I wish.

  5. How wonderful! I believe God orchestrates every detail of our lives.

    I hope Dan finds tremendous success in the blogging community.

  6. You know this happens to me all the time. I am constantly thinking about someone and they call me, email me or show up. I can't help but believe that souls are connected. If we listen, if we participate we will know when we are to pray or go to the aid of someone who needs us.

  7. Incidents like this happen to me all of the time, and I love it. I think of these events like little gifts from above.

    A friend of mine calls it synchronicity. I don't know what to call it, but I really like the "Law of Stackable Hamsters." That sparks interesting visuals.

  8. God, evidently, does not try to avoid "coincidence" in his stories. (Obviously, these things are not just happening for no reason. That they happen at all... implies that nothing else that happens is accidental either. We don't necessarily know the meaning of any particular event--but we can ask.)

  9. Some real life coincidences can be amazing! Can't use too many of those in fiction though :)

  10. That story gave me chills. It's so crazy when something like that happens. I feel like it happens with money also. You think that your running low or you get a bill in the mail and then somehow you come across extra money. I find that happens to me at times.


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