I wrote the piece below in 2011. It is an excerpt from my book called The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into The Extraordinary. It shines a beautiful light on finding serendipity in unusual places and loving acts in the most unexpected circumstances. The two characters in the first of this three act play which was performed on the stage of my life, were literally from different walks of life, generations, appearances, possibly socio-economic backgrounds, lifestyles, perhaps diverse education levels and upbringing. What they shared, was a common humanity.
This morning after digging out from under the second “snowmaggedon”, or “snowpocalypse” as it is fondly being called, of the winter of 2010, I headed into work. Stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts for my treat of a cup of vanilla chai, I pulled into the snow covered parking lot. Wishing I had a camera handy, I watched in amazement as an unlikely looking pair walked out of the store, arm in arm. They were a 20-something young man; tall, tattooed, with multiple body piercings, including two in his lower lip, a 6” or so striped mohawk adorning his head and a petite, elderly, elegantly coiffed and garbed lady. He was escorting her to her car, so that she could safely traverse the erstwhile slippery sidewalk. She thanked him and then I thanked him. I informed him that he had earned his wings this morning and that he had indeed made my day too. He seemed embarrassed by the praise and nodded in response.
Upon entering the store, I struck up a conversation with the woman in line in front of me. A woman in front of her turned around and gazed at me for a moment and then shook her finger in recognition, saying “I know you. What’s your name?” When I told her, she grinned and said “You married my husband and me.” One of my many hats is that of an interfaith minister and she and her husband were among the first at whose wedding I had officiated after my ordination in 1999. Now married ten years, they have a 5 year old son. I left the store smiling, the feeling buoying me as I drove the rest of the way to work.
I turned on the radio, listening to my local NPR station called WHYY and the show Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane. She was asking people to call in with snow stories and whatever cutesy titles they had for the snow storm. Powerless to resist, I called in and shared my morning experience. I called it ‘cosmic snow-incidence’ ( a take-off on one of my favorite terms ‘cosmic coincidence’ ). Marty’s delightful response was something to the tune of my being able to see past the tattoos and body piercings to the invisible wings he had sprouted. Perhaps they were there all along.
I found this excerpt a day after hearing a new song sweetly performed by multi-Grammy Award nominated and recipient Bonnie Raitt who took home another to add to her collection. The song is called Just Like That. It tells the story of a woman who received an unexpected gift of grace in the midst of her grief. It reminds me of the countless times serendipity has come to visit me when it seemed like everything was falling apart and I had no explanation for it. The song also touched me because my husband died in 1998 while awaiting a liver transplant. As a result of his death, I became an organ donor educator as a volunteer for Gift Of Life Donor Program in Philly. I am also an organ donor. A few years ago, a dear friend was the grateful recipient of a kidney transplant. There are so many stories like the one Bonnie shared in song.
I wonder what Bonnie would do with the story of the tattooed angel and the older woman who was fortunate to encounter him on the tail end of a once in a century snowfall on such a winter’s day.
If you want more information on organ donation and becoming a donor, visit the website of Gift of Life Donor Program, which has the distinction of being the nation’s leading organ donor organization for 15 years in a row. “In 2022, Gift of Life coordinated the most organ donors and the most organs for transplant among all 57 organ procurement organizations (OPO) in the country.” My favorite bumper sticker on the topic reads, “Don’t Take Your Organs To Heaven. Heaven Knows We Need Them Here.”
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This Post is republished on Medium.