Previously Published in Elephant Journal
Today, I’m sharing a personal story that was recently published in Elephant Journal.
A chance encounter at the vet’s office turned poignant.
Our cat, who is unsuitably named Bear, limped into the house one morning gingerly holding his front paw in the air.
He allowed me to stroke his fluffy black fur, but growled when I tried to touch his paw, which was dangling at an awkward angle. The morning this occurred, we were already dealing with broken heat ducts (brrrr!), a newly discovered rat infestation under our house (gross) and hosting for the holidays (nuff’ said). So, amidst the chaos, I begrudgingly took Bear to the vet.
Even though he clearly wasn’t fulfilling his end of the bargain, given the RAT situation.
While flipping through magazines in the waiting area of the vet’s office, I noticed a woman quietly crying across the room. I heard her tell the administrators she just wanted to be close to her dog for a little while longer. Watching her in obvious pain, I thought about the sadness of losing a pet, especially over the holidays.
She seemed consumed with grief.
Shortly thereafter, we were called into the examination room and I was told Bear’s paw was most likely not broken and we could go home. As I wrapped up payment and paperwork and chatted with the lady at the front desk, the distraught woman in the waiting room suddenly looked up at me and said; “Are you Vanessa Loder?”
“Umm, yes,” I replied. She went on to tell me that she’d listened to my 30 Day Meditation Challenge and had recognized my voice from across the lobby. We began chatting and she told me her beloved dog was not going to make it. I gave her a hug and did my best to comfort her.
We both remarked on what a strange coincidence it was that we’d run into each other in these circumstances. As we hugged goodbye, I said something along the lines of; “Things will get better.”
She nodded meekly.
And that’s when it hit me; we often gloss over grief, wanting to fix things or move through it quickly because it’s painful and uncomfortable. I remembered some wise words I’d heard from Esther Hicks, who said we often tell other people to feel better because we can’t handle their discomfort.
In that moment, I decided to make a different choice.
I turned back to the woman and said; “Screw that. Our society doesn’t honor grief enough, and I’m sorry I just gave you some platitude about things getting better.”
Then, I looked her straight in the eye with my hands on my heart and said; “I honor your grief,” as I sort of bowed down before the pain she was experiencing. She burst into tears, nodding her head again and again as the tears silently rolled down her cheeks.
Do our chance encounters have a deeper purpose?
Leaving the vet’s office that day, I was reminded of another story Esther Hicks shared at an event in California. She talked about how one day, she had a strong impulse to rearrange the furniture in her house. It was too big for her to move, so she hired some guys to come over the next day and move it. Then she began experimenting with her sound system, which she’d never used before. She pushed a default button labeled “classical music” and played around with the different speakers in her house, moving from room to room. Then she saw a button that said; “rap,” and wondered what that was, so she pushed it. Rap blasted through all the speakers in her home, and she started dancing around.
The next day, the movers came to rearrange her furniture.
She struck up a conversation with one of the young men, and he mentioned that he was about to move to New Orleans to attempt a career as a rap artist….(read the rest of this story here).
I hope you enjoyed these two stories, and now we want to hear from you!
Have you had a chance encounter that felt like it had a deeper purpose or greater meaning? After you read the full story, comment below and tell us of your own random or serendipitous encounters.
I’ll be reading every single response and can’t wait to hear from you.
May you create work and a life you love,
Photo Credit: Alyssa Stevenson