Dear Friends ~ This story begins sitting around a campfire one spring night, with a friend and her friend whom I only just met. "You know what’s funny?" she laughed when she introduced us. "This guy lives in your old apartment! He gets all your junk mail now." What a great coincidence! we mused.
Our chatter meandered into the night—the way fireside conversations tend to go. When we veered toward childhood memories, our new visitor and I realized that we also grew up in the exact same town as one another! At precisely the same time! Attended the very same school!
He told me he moved when he was in late elementary school, to a house about a block away from the school. I had walked a block to that school every day, too. But...my family had moved away from that neighborhood in late elementary school.
"We lived in the brick house, next to the one with the swimming pool," he went on.
My eyes widened. "With a Chinese chestnut and a pear tree in the yard?"
We both smiled—bewildered—when he nodded and said, "And the sump pump in the basement..."
I think about this story often. I’m still incredulous at the fact that a stranger eating s’mores in my backyard—two states away from where we grew up—had lived in the house that my parents sold to his three decades ago. (Not to mention that apartment coincidence, too!) But mostly I marvel over the fact that if the conversation had unfolded differently, we would have never known that we were connected in such a personal way.
"Do you think there is anything not attached by its unbreakable cord to everything else?" Mary Oliver wrote in her book UPSTREAM. Since that night by the fire, I can’t help but wonder what other connections lay undiscovered beneath the surface of our everyday interactions with others. And how might we live differently with the realization that they are there? ~Joy