Common Threads: Tell us the story of your favorite Chance Encounter.

in life •  last year

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In recent Common Threads, we’ve talked about First Kisses and how the Pursuit of Love has affected the course of our lives. After reading @denmarkguy’s great Pursuit of Love story, it got me thinking about Chance Encounters. Whether it’s serendipity, fate or just crazy coincidence, there are people that just seem destined to touch our lives—people we were meant to meet—and there are those magical moments where the universe seems to do everything it can to make that happen. Whether it was for love, friendship or just a much-needed conversation with a nameless stranger, Chance Encounters are a Common Thread that unites us, so let’s share our stories…

(If you’re new to Common Threads, click here)

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BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, 1999. There are two primary reasons for a Mormon to go to BYU: to get an education, and to get married. Most would try and convince you that the latter isn't true, but there are strong cultural and religious undercurrents that would say otherwise. To put it another way: if you’re a senior at BYU and you’re still single, you might be having a bit of a personal existential crisis.

In 1999, I was a senior and single, but I wasn’t worried about it—I have a naturally optimistic disposition and I had faith that everything would just work out. My roommate, Brett, on the other hand, was a bit more concerned.

I was a good student, but Brett put me to shame in that regard—so I let him motivate me by his example. We would often go to the library together to study; and that's where we found ourselves on a particular Tuesday evening‬…

That night, the library was packed and there were no empty tables—so we found a table occupied by two girls who didn't appear to know each other. Brett took a seat next to one of the girls and I took the empty seat on the opposite side of the table next to the other girl.

Unlike Brett, I had a very short attention span and after about 15 minutes I was already getting restless. I decided to take a little break and I noticed the girl next to me was studying for a class I had already taken. Now, I wasn't trying to flirt with the girl--in fact I didn't get much of a look at her; I just remember she was wearing a baseball cap. All I wanted to do was break up the monotony of studying, so I made what I thought was a clever remark. Her response was curt and cold so I quickly retreated back into my books. After another 15 minutes or so of studying, I was ready to go... but, as usual, Brett stayed behind.

Later that night, Brett came home and approached me, "Hey Josh. Remember that girl you were sitting next to? Well, she gave me her phone number and asked me to give it to you." I was shocked. I thought for sure I made a bad impression. Anyway, while I was flattered by the gesture, she just didn't seem like my type. So, I put the phone number on my nightstand and told myself I'd call her the next day, thank her for the gesture, and then tell her I wasn't available (not true). Well, I forgot to call her.

Two weeks later, Brett and I were back at the library. We had been joking about being seniors and not married--and I assured Brett halfheartedly, "Don't worry Brett, our wives are here somewhere..."

We found an empty table and took seats across from each other. After my obligatory 15 minutes of studying my eyes began to wander and they suddenly landed on the most heavenly creature I had ever seen... a petite blonde with radiant skin, and a beaming smile... I watched her walk across my line of sight as if in slow motion. Finally, she stopped in front of some guy who I had to conclude (for my own ego's sake) was a dumb jock. If she had glanced my way, she would've seen my stunned stare, open jaw, and probably some drool.

I was frozen. If there was ever was such a thing as “love at first sight”, this had to be it. But before I could muster some good sense to think of a plan to approach her, she was gone—she had left the library. In that moment, I literally felt like my destiny had just walked out the door and out of my life forever... This is no exaggeration. I felt sick, and in a somewhat panicked, half-joking-half-not state I said to Brett, "Brett, I think I just saw my wife!" He figured I was just being dramatic and went back to studying. Then, just as my anguished soul was about to accept my miserable failure, SHE walked back into the library! After a brief glance around the room, she found a table a few tables over from us and sat down.

Brett's back had been to her this whole time so I took a moment to point out my “future wife” to him. He casually glanced over at her and then looked back at me. Then with a sudden look of confusion on his face, he looked back at the girl (this time more carefully). After a pause, and with a bit of a smirk, he proceeded to say the most glorious thing: "Josh, that's the SAME girl who gave you her PHONE NUMBER two weeks ago!"

I almost fell out of my chair. My heart was leaping. The universe was DEFINITELY in on this one! Fortunately, I had forgotten to call (and reject) her the morning after she had given me her number—and the piece of paper with her NAME on it was still on my nightstand! I NEEDED her name—if I had it, I could approach her. Cell phones were still very new and most people didn’t have them—so I sent Brett off to go find a phone and call our apartment where (hopefully) another roommate could get the girl’s name.

Brett was successful: “Megan.”

Armed with her name (and an superhuman surge of confidence), I approached… and what ensued was a whirlwind of a romance that Romeo would be fond of. It was magic—pure magic.

There’s a lot more to the Megan story, and she is likely to appear again in future Common Thread posts—but I’ll leave it here for now. It was 20 years ago and she’s still the closest I ever came to getting married. I think she may have ruined because she’s been the standard against which all my other relationships have been measured.

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In every Common Thread, I like to take a moment to highlight people who I think are valuable contributors in the community. I find these people by reading the stories they post in Common Threads. After checking out their profiles and recent blogs, I will usually follow them—and for those who really stand out, I will try and promote them in future Common Threads.

Here are a couple of authors who I think are making a valuable contribution:

  • @denmarkguy – A very prolific and engaging blogger, photographer and community supporter. He puts a lot of thought (and research) into his posts.
  • @merej99 – Inspiring community activist and instigator of the recent Community Engagement Challenge. She’s doing more than her part to make Steemit a better place.
  • @sizzlingmonkeys – Very thoughtful and well-written posts on life, health, parenting, psychology and more.

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Now it’s your turn! I would love to hear how the universe brought someone special into your life (if only for a moment)—and I think others would, too. Go ahead and add your story in the comments! Or, if you prefer, blog your story separately and link back to this thread so we can find it! If you don’t want to share, then maybe you’ll take a moment to read other people’s stories and encourage them by upvoting the ones you like. Now, without further ado:

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Call it an unpopular belief but I don't believe chance encounters are like flat out chance or "fate." I think they are more a manifestation of what your heart is desiring and opening yourself up to opportunity. That's where the saying "be careful what you wish for ". What you are "putting out there" whether good or bad has a way of manifesting therefore its not chance, it is what you brought on yourself....

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I definitely believe this! But I also believe that sometimes the Universe does have a way of... aligning? things a certain way. Let me explain...

I didn't date much in high school, I just honestly couldn't be bothered.Most of the guys I went to school with (Southern California in the 80's) were either stoned or jocks and neither knew how to have an intelligent conversation. This pattern continued well into my 20's. Work was more important, and most 20-something men I did meet would disappear as soon as they found out that I was the sole caregiver for my grandparents who were both in their 60's and in declining health.

BY my 26th birthday in September 1999, I had pretty much assumed that I would be a crazy cat lady after my grandparents were gone. However, in March of 2000, the most amazing thing happened. A new dishwasher walked into the kitchen at the restaurant where I was working as a baker. We joke about it now, but it truly was love at first sight. Except that we both fought it tooth and nail. You see, I am 8 years older than him. He had just turned 18 in December 1999. We put up with a lot of ribbing when our coworkers found out. They even had a betting pool on how long we would last. Nobody won it by the way, 6 months was the longest anybody gave us.

We've been together 17 years, married for 16 and we have 5 beautiful children. When my friends from high school ask me why I waited so long to get married and have kids(when their kids are all nearly grown), I just smile and tell them that I had to wait for my Prince Charming to grow up LOL

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It looks like 2000 was a good year for both of us! :) I love that you had the "love at first sight" experience and that it turned out so well for you! I think you made a great call marrying younger given the disparity in male/female life expectancy :) Thank you so much for sharing your story! Best

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I think that's a beautiful way of putting it and I completely agree! :) I was going to say that Fate and Destiny are often romanticized ideals--but frankly, the way you described it actually sounds MORE romantic. Thanks!

Hi joshua-pace, I am very flattered to be mentioned in your post! I am actually a very slow and hence non-prolific writer and am still trying to find my narrative. Often, I find it easier to comment on other people's post than to write my own posts, so I am really looking forward to the development of Common Threads. I think Common Threads has the potential to spark a lot of thought-provoking discussions on Steemit!

Regarding Chance Encounters, I think my favorite chance encounter is with my kids. My kids used to ask me, "Mom, why did you have us?" and my answer was "Because Daddy and I wanted to meet you!" After all, the typical male produces 525 billion sperm during his lifetime, and the average woman ovulates about 500 eggs during her lifetime, so the chance of that lucky sperm meeting with that particular egg is incredibly small And my life is certainly much more interesting since meeting my kids, so that's why I pick them as my favorite chance encounter!

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I absolutely love your creativity regarding the "chance encounter"! :) I suspect your children feel they were lucky to have met you, too. You may not be very prolific at the moment, but you're a fantastic writer so I will anxiously await your voice whenever and wherever you find it! Thank you so much for your encouragement and support of Common Threads :) I hope to hear more from you here! Best

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Thank you for the encouragement regarding my writing!