Unable to control myself any longer, I blurted out the exciting fact I'd just discovered during my genealogical work into my husband's family. I'd managed to control myself most of the Memorial Day party, but when an opportunity presented itself, I couldn't wait any longer.
"So The Gryphon has a family connection to Aaron Burr," I revealed. "Aaron Burr is the second cousin, once removed, of his fifth great-grandfather's second wife."
My conversation partner blinked, saying nothing, and I thought, "This time I've really done it. I've bored a friend into silence with my constant genealogical talk." Then he spoke.
"That's interesting," he said. "That's about the same relationship I have with Alexander Hamilton. He's a distant cousin of my grandmother." I could tell from the somewhat amazed look on his face that he was telling the truth. With a wry smile, he remarked to my husband, "I wonder if I should challenge you to a duel."
"If you do," I said, "he'll win."
On my first ever solo airplane trip, I read "The Celestine Prophecy," most of which I now forget. One thing I do retain, however, is the concept that there is no such thing as coincidences. I tend to believe that. Walking through my life, I've again and again found portions which seem to connect.
My childhood home's upstairs bathroom and its attic door, which has haunted my dreams for years, eventually became the place my mother collapsed in death.
As a girl, I gave my favorite Ken doll the same first name as my husband, The Gryphon, 25 years before meeting him.
One of my favorite names has always been Sarah, which turned out later to be the name of one of my best friends in college as well as the name of my future mother-in-law.
None of these events, you might say, necessarily connect to one another. That is, indeed true. Yet, connected they are, as any two events in my life might be. Me, the thinking brain that makes sense of it all, can always find ways to link the disparate elements of my life.
If nothing else, these fragments connect through my experience. My presence, the active seer, the "I" (and the eye). Just like I am no longer truly surprised to discover that friends I met at wildly different times and places know each other. After all, the same similarities that drew me to one friend may draw that friend to another friend of mine.
We are all egocentric. Perhaps not given to Twitter rants, declaring worldwide media conspiracies designed to bring us down. (That sort of egomania would take a truly deluded individual. Sad.) But seeing the world through our own prisms, we connect it all to ourselves. A movie is worth seeing if we liked it. Roses (or violets, or honeysuckle) smell best because we deem it so. Not to be rude, but we are the ones who matter, after all.
Undeniable, I must say. If you can experience no other framework than your own, you matter supreme. The individuals who surround you, matter only as they connect into your divine plan.
Except that the universe is sneaky. Did you, for example, know when you set out this morning the destiny you shared with the man you collided with in the coffee shop, whose unwitting elbow bumped your hand and blessed the floor with hot coffee? Were you aware that the serious-looking woman you smiled at while leaving the YMCA had just learned some bad news and needed some cheering up? Did you know, as a youngster, exactly how the different steps you took would lead you to where you are now? Or whose lives you would touch along the way?
We are all important. We are all, also, connected. My son is eating his carrots right now, carrots grown by a farmer in Ohio, perhaps. A farmer who might have voted for the president I cannot abide. And yet, he gave my son sustenance, and so I must love him.
My son admires a celery stalk, and all I can see are the various strings leading from that moment to everyone he has met and will meet. This little life I brought into the world.
And all is good.
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