A Chance Encounter

by Lee Ann Livingston
Spiritual Care Specialist

Imagine my surprise when he walked up to me and called me by name, especially since he and I were both wearing facemasks. At the time, I was standing in a shop, waiting for my cup of soup to soothe my chill from the cold night air. While maintaining my distance as I talked with a couple of other folks also waiting on their orders, he called me by name and commented that it was so good to see me. I had to apologize that, although his voice was familiar, I had no idea who he was. Thankfully, he laughed and commented on the facemasks, then identified himself.

As it turned out, he had been in to talk with me a couple of times last year after his mother died. I remembered those conversations positively and gratefully. He seemed to be a gentle man who simply loved his mother, missed her, and needed a little reassurance about where he was in his own life at the time. Sometimes we all just need a listening ear.

It seems that we had both come to town to walk and take in the beauty of the seasonal decorations. I had met a couple of friends for the outdoor walk; he said that he wanted to come see the lights, and his wife didn’t want to join him, so he just came to walk alone. As he walked past the shop where I was waiting for my cup of soup, he saw me through the window and said that he recognized me by my eyes. We talked until my soup was ready, not too long, but enough for me to know that he is doing well and he is happy.

As we were making our way to the door to leave the shop, he told me that he almost didn’t come to town that evening, but he had the feeling that he just needed to be there. When he recognized me through that shop window, he knew why he felt compelled to be downtown that evening. We acknowledged that our coincidental meeting that evening was anything but a coincidence. It was a gift.

On the sidewalk, we said our goodbyes and offered our best wishes before parting. As I walked away, I gave thanks for soup to warm my chilled bones and a special thanks for the unexpected encounter that warmed my soul in ways I had never expected!

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