Everything happens for a reason. The Bible tells us this.
The other day, William asked me if I'd seen the movie The Adjustment Bureau. I hadn't, but I like Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, and William gave it such a positive recommendation, Collin got it from Netflix.
In the film, a rising politician's career is derailed when he gets into a barroom brawl the night he's elected. A secret society of men in hats who seem to have otherworldly powers to manipulate mere mortals are about to put his career back on track when he meets and falls in love with a ballerina, once again derailing his destiny. The more these hat-wearing Fates conspire to keep them apart, the harder he fights to be with her.
The movie reminds me of the book The Celestine Vision, a detailed look at the concept of synchronicity--the belief that supposedly random acts are actually part of a divine plan to keep each of us on the paths we're meant to follow. A wrong turn, a chance meeting, a kind word to a stranger, all seemingly insignificant events that propel us forward in the current of life.
No, nothing happens by chance. But we do have free will. The other half of the equation is how we respond to these occurrences. In the movie, Matt Damon's character chose to fight the plan, and rewrite his destiny. Consider this: a chance meeting between two people, both having a good day. They connect immediately. Maybe they get married. Maybe they have children. Maybe they grow old together.
Or...they meet under the worst possible circumstances. One or both are having a bad day. An innocent remark is taken the wrong way. The connection never happens. Right couple, wrong time. The chance for happiness is missed. What might have been is lost forever.
There's an episode of Touched By An Angel that addresses this. The angel Monica, having a bad day, reacts in a less than angelic way to one person, setting into motion a chain of events that nearly leads to a woman's suicide. Given the chance for a do-over, something we don't often get in real life, the outcome is dramatically different.
A couple of years ago, I happened to post a comment on an IMDb message board for the movie Angels & Demons. I had just published Chasing the Wind and was posting on a lot of message boards to draw interest to the book. I wasn't really connecting with anyone beyond that. William was also posting there. We had exchanged a few comments, but nothing more. I had my professional resume posted on the site. I didn't realize everyone could access it until I received an email from a woman I'd had a bit of dialogue with on that same message board.
I wasn't thrilled that she'd gotten my email address, but we exchanged emails for a while. She was interested in hooking up with William. I suggested she PM him. She did. She was discouraged when she received his response: just his first name. "What did you say to him?" I asked.
"I asked him his name."
He'd answered her. I don't know what more she expected. I sent him a message and noted that on his profile, he listed Long Way Round as one of his favorite TV programs. He said he liked it because he was also a biker. I asked what kind of bike he owned. He answered, and we began a three-way email exchange with the other woman, who was pursuing him in a not-so-subtle manner.
To my knowledge, she never got laid (in spite of a very aggressive campaign on her part), and these days, neither of us is speaking to her. But he and I remain close friends and collaborators. We talked about this a while back, realizing that neither of us would have initiated a relationship beyond the message boards, had she not been looking for some action.