Thursday, January 27, 2011

Circles and Providence


On a field trip with the youth of America today, a couple of weird things happened that are common themes in my life: circles and providence.

For many years, I've experienced an odd phenomenon: I see people from past jobs, loves, classes, schools when I'm out and about and anywhere, despite not having any recent contact or connection with them for months or even years. This happened today, as I saw two people I used to teach with at my old school. Last year we were on another field trip, totally different setting. I saw yet another teacher, that I'd taught with at the same school, though she'd gone on to teach in a totally different district. A man from Peru that I'd taught in an English as a Second Language writing class also ended up being hired there as a teacher assistant. A couple of years later, he and I won teacher assistant and teacher of the year simultaneously in a single year.

I go on a date or to a restaurant, and the waiter is someone I worked at my first job with back in the 90's (that's happened twice). And that's without mentioning the times I see people that I know I know around town, and when we don't have occasion to speak, but I know. I haven't lived in the same town all my life, although I have stayed in the general area. But still, it happens, even half a country away from Texas. Once I went to a wedding in California, on a whim, with a friend who had no connection to anyone I went to high school with. At the wedding, which was held in the bride's mother's back yard, I realized that I saw a familiar face: the bride's brother went to high school with me. Circles open, they close, they shimmer beyond one another, they start anew.


Today whilst I was downtown in charge of a score of precious lives, there was a suspicious package scare in one of the buildings. While we were busy learning about the heritage of our city, even about the man for whom our school is named, news vans and police helicopters were broadcasting and investigating about 4 blocks away. It turned out to be files, not bombs, in the box, but still odd to have been so close to potential disaster. Such things have repeated in my life as well: I had a plane ticket out of the Washington, D.C. airport on September 11, 2001, I survived a van rolling over and over off an Arkansas backroad.

After a while, you wonder: what's the universe trying to tell me with this? That I'm always being watched? That I'm never alone? That nothing will be hidden? That no one is ever gone forever? That, for some reason, I'm being watched over, protected?

Make of it what you will. I do.

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"Life, so they say, is but a game and we let it slip away." -- Seals, Crofts
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