Day 2

What really is going on with a coincidence?  I mean…isn’t it kind of weird when they actually occur?

co-in-ci-dence:  a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance.

Yesterday, my daughter, a friend of hers and I went to our local mall.  While the two of them went for a quick walk around the building, I decided to duck into the food court and dig into a sandwich from Subway.  A very tall, young man walks up to me.  “Ms. Barker.  It’s me, Jack.”

“Wow…Jack.  How are ya buddy?  I haven’t seen you for years!”  We chat for a good ten minutes just catching up with each other.

He and my son were close friends in elementary school. This in and of itself isn’t all that big a deal. What makes it feel like a bigger deal than just his walking up, was the fact that my son and I had talked about Jack earlier in the day.

“Have you seen Jack?  I asked Hank.

“I haven’t seen him since fifth grade, Mom,” Hank replied.

We spoke for a moment about where my son thought he went to school, but in fact, we weren’t sure because we had not seen him since he was ten years old.

Jack is now 16 and I saw him on the very day that my son and I had wandered onto wondering about him.

Sure…I guess I can chalk it up to coincidence, but these random junctions seem to happen more often then not.

Which brings me around to Caitlin Boyle. She is an amazing woman who has built her entire career on what appear to be coincidences.

Caitlin Boyle is the founder of Operation Beautiful. She moved to Charlotte (coincidence or not?) about a year ago and we have become very, very close.

In Caitlin’s words:

“I began Operation Beautiful by leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms — at work, at the gym, at the grocery store.  I scribble down whatever comes to mind — “You are beautiful!” or “You are amazing just the way you are!”  My personal goal is to leave as many Operation Beautiful notes as I can. Maybe some people read them and just smile, but I bet some people are truly touched by the effort of a random stranger.

CIMG6166

Operation Beautiful is simple: all you need is a pen and a piece of paper. If you want to join the mission, send me an e-mail at OperationBeautiful@gmail.com with a photograph of your Operation Beautiful note or a description of your experience, and I’ll post it on the Operation Beautiful site for thousands of others to read and enjoy!”

This all started for Caitlin on “one of those days” when nothing seemed to be going right.  She decided that posting a sticky note with positive words on the mirror of a random restroom might cheer HER up.  And so she did.

Since then literally tens of thousands of people have participated in Operation Beautiful. Caitlin has actually written a book documenting the transformations experienced through the discovery of a randomly placed note, coincidentally found by someone in need of that note with that message on that day.  Young women struggling with anorexia, bulimia and other challenging body-image/self-esteem issues have literally been saved due to the coincidental discovery of these positive notes found on random bathroom mirrors, fitness center scales, health club dressing rooms and grocery store diet food shelves.

I simply cannot, or more preferably choose not to attribute these “junctions” between two people as random or coincidental, but rather prefer to think of them as mysterious and gentle nudges from the Universe/God/Love, that something bigger is at work out there, conspiring in our favor…if we would just open our eyes to Him/Her/It.  Today I’m going to look at each encounter, whether chance or not, as an opportunity to honor the mysterious possibility that maybe…just maybe…there is a reason for the encounter that goes beyond what is obvious.

What do you think “coincidences” are about?  Have you got a story of a coincidental meeting that may suggest something more mysterious, beautiful and inspiring is at work in your life?

Let’s hear it…

…(And now an addendum added approximately four hours since I posted everything above.  I got into my car after writing this original post…checked my phone and found a text message from our Girls on the Run director, Cissy Fish, in Hickory, North Carolina.  She had NOT read this blog.

The content of her text which had no words but only an image was what follows:

Pretty cool, uh?  Talk about coincidences?  Is it?  Share your story or your thoughts in the comment section.  Wow.

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10 Responses to Day 2

  1. I believe that coincidence is one of the ways that God speaks to us. I have noticed that at times when I am “more in the flow” than coincidences occur more. nice post, thanks.

    • And…as you write to me Mike…I realize that even THIS encounter is not by accident. I’ll be curious to see how and who this particular post attracts…because clearly there is something quite remarkable going on. 🙂

      • “I strive for equanimity, absolute equality, between all the parts of the earth and me. I watch for synchronicities, the coincidental qualities, of the wonderful things that happen to me”

  2. Emily Wilmer says:

    “There is no coincidence for those who know how to see” said my teacher, Hando (Fr. Tom Hand).

  3. Elaine Cohoon Miller says:

    Like Emily’s teacher, my priest Fr. Steve also says, “There are no coincidences.” And, like you, I believe these moments are meant and sent – serendipities which help us discover the patterns in our mysterious lives. Wonder what lovely moments are in store for us today?

  4. BabaliciouS says:

    There’s no coincidence for those who know how to see.
    leads to a personal question…to see What?

  5. Talk about coincidence!!! I was first introduced to Caitlin’s work with Operation Beautiful when her book literally fell off the shelf in front of me at the bookstore, it was just what I needed to hear that day. I was so jazzed by Operation Beautiful that I’ve started leaving messages all over the place. I am the troop leader for my daughter’s Brownie Troop and we did a whole meeting about Operation Beautiful and wrote notes to each other, their teachers and their Moms. My daughter wrote: “Your awesome whatever you say or wear your an awesome Mom!” with a little heart. I follow Caitlin on Facebook and that is what lead me to your site this evening. I read your entire site and LOVE every bit of it and TOTALLY relate to the conversations in your head. This afternoon before going to your site, the chatter in my head was overwhelming and no matter what I did it just kept getting louder. Then I clicked the link to your site and the voices started to get quiet and when I read the part about running a small voice simply said – “you need to run” – I’ve been thinking about doing that for a long time and now I’m going to do it.
    Thank you! I will be back to respond to your questions – awesome idea.

    • If you need some ideas for running…you ought to think about being a “running buddy” for a Girl on the Run. This means you would run/walk in a Girls on the Run 5k event with one of our 3rd to 8th grade participants. Think about it!

  6. I do believe coincidences are often “guided,” whether we realize it or not. I actually signed up to coach Girls on the Run this season in St. Louis. A year ago, I never would have expected that I would live in St. Louis. I’m a Detroit girl, born and raised! But I’m here and loving it. The funny thing is, I signed up for GOTR, and only THEN found Caitlin and Operation Beautiful when a friend recommended her blog based on my GOTR interest! That opened up a whole new world of blogging for me, and I’ve met so many wonderful people and opened my life because of so many little “coincidences” along the way.

  7. Hi Molly!
    I just started coaching for Girls on the Run in Orlando, FL, and I feel like this is the perfect time to share a recent coincidence of mine. Back in the Fall of 2010, one of my dearest college friends sent an e-mail to her friends and family telling them that she would be training to run her first marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., all the while raising money for Girls on the Run. Of course I immediately checked out the organization, eager to donate and help motivate my friend. After being tickled pink by the purpose of Girls on the Run, I began seaching for one in my area. So happy to learn Orlando recently formed a chapter, I applied to be a coach. Unfortunately for me, it was too late to sign up for coaching, and they were full at all of the locations. I was slightly disappointed but went about my life, looking for something else to get involved in.

    Shortly after the start of 2011, I got an e-mail from the leader of the Orlando chapter, who was searching for coaches in the area to keep the program running at the current locations for the Spring session. It was my lucky day! I immediately applied again which set everything in motion. Little did I know that the location I applied to coach at was not only right around the corner from my house, but my friend who introduced me to GOTR went there for all of elementary school. We’ve already completed two lessons and it still feels too good to be true!

    Today I have been reviewing the lesson we’ll go over tomorrow, and our leader posted the link to your blog in that e-mail. I think it is yet another coincidence that I stumble upon your post on coincidences while I am living this huge coincidence. It’s been my personal belief that everything happens for a reason, even though it may seem coincidental. I am so happy that GOTR has “walked into my life.” I feel very blessed to be able to spend time with my girls, and while I know they will learn from me, I can’t help but learn equally, if not more, from them.

    Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity!
    Jessica

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