Everyone knows my definition of coincidence: “God at work in the world anonymously.”
My life has been filled with coincidences. Now I wish I had kept a list of them over the years. Perhaps while I type this column, it may trigger more, so I shall ponder as I write.
The biggest and the best coincidence happened when I started college in my hometown. There I met my husband, Jim. He had joined the Army in Niagara Falls and then told his mother what he had done. She said, “It was the saddest day of my life.” He was sent to Fort Riley, Kan., where he eventually found his way to my college. When I met him, it was the “happiest day of my life.”
Before we married, we had to acquire a copy of his parents’ marriage certificate. Jim’s Grandfather Aderman passed away at 40, so Jim never met him. When we looked at his name on the certificate, there it was: Christian Aderman. Coincidence? Prediction? Fate?
Once we started traveling, the coincidences followed us. We were visiting relatives in Connecticut, where we took the commuter train to Grand Central Station. Thousands of people pass through Grand Central on any weekday morning going to work in the big city. We were going to meet our niece later in the day, for she was on her way to work.
Huddled in a corner, we finally decided what time and where to meet. All of a sudden, we heard someone yell, “Adermans! What are you doing here?” There was a long-ago friend from Venezuela. In 10 minutes, we caught up on 10 years of life.
Now we are in Topeka. The coincidences here are piling up. I was scheduled for knee surgery last winter. I had to attend an all-day clinic at our local hospital with those who were scheduled for surgery the same month. The woman who registered me asked for my name, then I looked at her name tag. Her name was Sharon Elaine! In all my years of meeting Sharons, I would always ask them their middle name. This Sharon was the first Sharon Elaine I had ever met. Did we bond? You bet!
So then I hobble down to the conference room for our first lecture, and there, sitting at the big table, was Annamae, a classmate of mine in college. What a hoot! Had not seen her for years, either. At our coffee break, we found out we were both having our knees done the same morning.
The next week I was scheduled for a stress test before surgery. The technician at the heart center had just finished examining me. We had some time to wait for the results, so we chatted. We talked about how we loved our Topeka library where he, the technician, was now checking out business books for a class. I asked him what book he was reading. He went to the desk for the book. I almost fell off the exam table. I had read the book years ago: Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of…” (I forgot the full title). And there was the technician holding that book. I call it a freaky coincidence.
Now for my Maine readers, this one’s for you. Last week I had a call from the boss I had when I worked for MACEE Educational Institution in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Marti retired years ago and now lives near Seattle. She has some sort of stomach trouble and had to see a surgeon to set up her surgery.
“Guess what? He just moved here from Damariscotta, Maine. Do you happen to know Dr. Garth Miller? Know him?” she said.
Dr. Miller was the first surgeon to operate on Jim at Miles Memorial Hospital. I told her he was an excellent surgeon and she would be in good hands.
Sunday, June 10 was our 57th anniversary. I subscribe to the Sunday New York Times, so when I wake up, I make coffee, pick up the local paper and the Times, and head back to bed to read. When I opened up the Topeka Capital Journal there was Jim, smiling from the obit page underneath the date June 10, 2018. The funeral home told us they would put a reminder of his memorials in the paper for us. I smiled back. An anniversary card from Jim.
Then I picked up The New York Times and started reading the Arts and Leisure section, The Tony Award show, Sunday, June 10. I thought it was the 17th, so I was puzzled. Then I realized that was Jim’s anniversary gift to me. Every summer in Maine we would take the train to New York to see a Broadway show. That night I watched Jim’s gift to me, every single minute, and we celebrated our anniversary together.