I had a very busy schedule the day after Thanksgiving, and so I chose to skip my morning walk. This is never a good choice for me, and the sun made a rare appearance that afternoon to remind me of this. But when I received a last-minute cancellation, I threw my boots into the car and headed to the park.
It was an unusually warm and beautiful November day, and the water was still along the vast beach. This was quite a difference from the day before when the waves were so rough that a beach walk was not possible. This had disappointed my husband, Jerry, and I, for he had joked that morning that he was going to find a bar of gold along the shore, and then I decided I would find a beautiful jewel instead. As I made my way down the hill to the beach, I smiled to myself thinking about how surprising it would be if a jewel did show up on my path that day.
When I approached the beach, I saw a woman walking with a happy, little dog that looked a lot like my beloved puggle, Penny, who passed away in June. I miss Penny terribly and hoped that the woman would bring her dog by so I could pet it. She did just that, introducing the dog as she approached, “This is Piper!” Piper was young and loving, giving me the kind of affection that only a sweet pup could – which was just what I needed that day.
I thanked the woman and told her that we had lost our dog last summer, and then she shared with me that her dog passed away a few months ago too. Piper was a neighbor’s dog who palled around with her sometimes. Then, as tears welled up in her eyes, she said her husband passed away about a year ago too, and so she was trying to adjust to lots of loss.
I gave the woman an immediate hug as she told me about her painful journey with grief. She told me about how hard it had been when her husband first died, and how their trusty dog had helped comfort her. She spoke of how she was getting ready to sell their family home, and about all the emotions she was wrestling with as a result. She noted that her self-confidence had grown as she courageously moved forward, but it wasn’t easy. As I listened to her story, her resiliency inspired me and filled my heart with gratitude.
My new friend and I both said it was remarkable that we had run into one another that afternoon. Both morning walkers, it was unusual for each of us to be on the beach at that hour. After we chatted for a long while, I gave her another warm hug and said, “It was so nice to talk with you today. I feel in my heart that we will meet again. My name is Tracy, by the way.” She smiled back at me and said, “I’m Jules.” — Well of course that’s your name, I thought, of course it is!
Through the experiences of my life, I have come to realize that these seemingly small synchronicities aren’t really small at all. They ground me in a big way. They help to reassure me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. And most of all, they remind me spiritually that I am not alone in all of this – none of us are, including you.