Coincidences

May 22, 2010
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I shifted my weight, attempting to find a comfortable position on the awkward seat. The window behind my head was wet and cold from the condensation our breath had created. It was early afternoon and I and my teammates were bound for a soccer match out of town.
The bus we were currently occupying was hot and crowded, what with the humid, rainy weather outside and the more than forty bodies squished together in such cramped quarters. The fact that I had managed to procure a seat to myself was a small miracle in itself. The only problem with sitting by myself was that it meant I had no one to lean against or sleep on. True, I had the ability to stretch my legs out, but I kept sliding off the slippery, leather seat, which was why I was require to keep repositioning myself.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was a book my mom had been pushing on me for several weeks. Once I finally started reading it though, I quickly reached the conclusion that it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. For her sake, I continued to trudge through it, hoping that in the end, it would unveil the answer to some dark secret, making the time spent reading it worthwhile. So far, no such lesson had been uncovered. My iPod was blaring set on shuffle and was helping to block out the loud laughter of my rowdy teammates.
As I was reading along, I came upon a passage where Gilbert was describing her experience with the Gurugita. The Geet, as it is commonly referred to is a 182 verse, hour and a half long chanted prayer undertaken early in the morning everyday by visitors of certain holy temples in India. For some reason, Gilbert had a great loathing for the Geet; she would lose control of her composure while participating in the emotionally and physically charged chant. Until one morning, when she got locked in her room by her roommate accidentally, and instead of going back to bed, she jumped out of a two story window in order to arrive at the temple on time.

It was at this point when Gilbert described that if she was so determined to do something so painful, she must have had a subconscious reason for doing it. The answer, she decided was that although the Gurugita was meant to “be a hymn of pure love,” she was unable to focus her love sincerely enough to properly feel the chant. Which is when she decided to aim all the power and love of the Geet at a specific person, her eight year old nephew Nick, who lived in Pennsylvania.

The entire time I was reading this passage, I was enthralled. It was interesting to see a person with such equal determination to overcome and loathing for one thing. In her fight to master her pain by simply choosing of her own free will to set her mind above her physical feelings, Gilbert won my respect. I was curious to see if her plan would work.

Gilbert dedicated the chant to Nick, who was at that moment getting ready for bed halfway across the world. She, on the other hand was welcoming the sun rise in India. It was sweet and touching that Gilbert sang the chant as a lullaby, and I was proud that she made herself overcome her own fear, but it wasn’t until I finished the passage and took a break from the book that I realized what a coincidence had just occurred.

The entire time I was reading, my iPod had simply been shuffling through some of my favorite songs. While I was reading of Gilbert’s morning lullaby my iPod had been playing a song by an artist named Ingrid Michaelson entitled “Morning Lullabies.”

I will sing you morning lullabies.

You are beautiful and peaceful this way.

I know you have to close you eyes on everyone,

Let me help you.

I’ll sing you to sleep with morning lullabies.

It wasn’t so much the specific nature of the passage or the contents of the song which got to me. Instead, I was struck by such a natural coincidence. The simple fact of two unrelated things meeting at the exactly correct moment in time was stunning. Its uplifting to consider what other, more life changing and moving coincidences could also exist. I set down Eat, Pray, Love and replayed the Michaelson ballad.

What other tiny coincidences had I missed that year, that week, that very day? If Gilbert had worded her experience any other way, would it have struck me so deeply to pause in my reading and consciously hear the song emanating from my headphones? Was my noticing the event simply a coincidence itself? I didn’t, but what I did know was that I was no on the search for events of a similar nature. It’s fun to make connections which fit random items together or create bonds between two otherwise unrelated topics. What other discoveries have been made because someone noticed a great coincidence? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches may have been the result of a coincidence, as could the invention of glass making. Were the invention of the television and the atom bomb coincidences? Will the cure for cancer and the answer to global warming be the result of coincidences? Whatever the answers, thanks to a three minute song, a loud bus ride, and two pages of prose, I will forever be on the lookout for the strange and coincidental, always.





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