My Co-Pilot

It is no coincidence that the 6th consecutive coincidence post is published on me and my wife’s wedding anniversary.

It truly isn’t.

I designed it that way.

Well, to be completely forthright, I didn’t begin this coincidence series six weeks ago thinking how great it would be to publish a coincidence that shaped our love story on the day of our anniversary. While I do love to plan a good surprise, that was not entirely my doing.

I realized it two weeks ago: when I checked the calendar and saw that our anniversary fell on a Monday. I could have ended this series, but these major life-changing patterns continue to emerge from a single phenomenon: the coincidence, that place where our internal directives are met and matched by some external will of the universe. Of course, I had to continue the series.

There have been many coincidences, many signs that my wife is my soulmate and life partner. I’m here to relay one of those moments.

 

We had an unorthodox start to our relationship.

Unorthodox by today’s standards, actually. In many ways it was very traditional.

She was traveling all over the world and nation. Doing service work in Kenya, landing job contracts in Texas, then Virginia. I met her in transit, at one of her brief pit stops. I knew I couldn’t let her get away, but how do you wrangle in an itinerant spirit?

I wrote her letters. Sent her sappy poetry. Made phone calls.

In fact, one night we spoke until the sun came up. I’ve been to work after sleepless nights before—but never for love.

I was certain there was something there. The only problem was, I could rarely get her near. It took coincidence to reminded me that sometimes God plans for us what we could never will into existence ourselves.

 

The postage on letters became cheaper by degrees.

She slowly moved closer. My ego tells the story this way: I was slowly reeling her in. My catch. The greatest catch of my life—the catch of a lifetime. I was living in the district. She was in Kenya, then Texas, then Virginia. In the fall of my first year teaching, she was looking to find work near DC. After a year of long-distance courtship, she used my apartment to hunt for her own.

My apartment wasn’t charming.

I saw five apartments on the day that I found it. The first one I visited was the most affordable: a room in the basement of this mansion in Mount Pleasant. I knew I wanted that room, but I thought I’d do my diligence and see the others I had scheduled later in the day to see.

When I came back to Mount Pleasant at the end of the day to claim my place, it was already taken. Herman, the name of the man I spoke with said they felt horrible about how this all timed up. They offered me a room they had never offered before. It was cheaper than the room they had offered me that morning—cheaper because it wasn’t a room at all. It was a closet, essentially. And renting it came with the warning that I would have to help with the breaker board located there if any electrical issues surface. I was single, trying to put away money for the first time in my life. I didn’t care if my cheap rent included an apprenticeship on switchboard panel operation.

I thought I rented the room for economical reasons.

Fate had more in store.

 

She sat at my desk in my closet of an apartment eight years ago, searching for a place to live.

“Why is DC so expensive?” she said.

“It’s bad, isn’t it? I was lucky to get this place. It was the only reasonable place on my search.”

“I’m not finding anything.”

“You could always crash here until you do.” That was a bold offer at the time. While we had gotten to know each other well, we were nowhere near ready to move in together.

“Check out this one. It literally just became available this morning.”

I went to the screen. The Craigslist blue heading. A list of apartments itemized below.

“It’s affordable,” she said. “But it’s in a basement.”

“What’s the address?”

“It says to call first. That’s sketchy.”

“Might as well call.”

“Okay, Herman,” she said, picking up her phone. “Let’s see what you got.”

“Herman?”

When Herman gave her the address, it confirmed that she had found the basement apartment next door to mine. It became available that morning. For the next six months, I got to live next door to the woman I would soon commit to spending the rest of my life with.

Had they not offered me the electrical closet, had she not looked for apartments at that hour of that day, had coincidence not help merge our mutual paths, we may have never gotten married.

 

Signs exist.

Not just stop signs and road detours. There are external guides that pin navigational beacons to the mapping of our souls. Tugging your heart strings is not metaphorical language in my opinion. Fate brought her next door. We just did our part and listened.

Now here we are, celebrating seven years of marriage and two kids.

And here I am, writing about the coincidence that made it all happen.

 

 

12 Responses to “My Co-Pilot

  • Happy anniversary! Thank you filling my heart with a smile this Monday morning. So important to revisit our lives, as you have done in this series, to make sense of the “seemingly” randomness of it all.

  • God is good! Isn’t he? He can do so much more and so much better than we can. We just need to get out of the way!

  • But if you try, sometimes you get what you need. Thank you, Mark this gives me hope

  • Happy Anniversary! Great story!
    xo
    Wendy

  • Oh my gosh…I LOVE LOVE LOVE this story!! Happy anniversary Mark and lovely wife with the heart of a giant. ❤️

  • Happy anniversary!

  • Man, THAT is a great story.

  • Penny Gillen
    3 weeks ago

    Wonderfulness. Upon this I shall reflect, thank you!

  • I love it, Mark. Great post and congratulations!

  • Just wonderful. Happy anniversary, your post made me cry, it’s always so lovely to hear such love and gratitude.

  • Such a lovely story! I love when serendipity comes to the fore and forges the rest of our lives. Thank-you for sharing 🙂

  • LOVE love love this! I absolutely love hearing how people meet and end up being together. Sometimes it’s so incredible how many things have to come together to get two paths to cross. Happy (belated) anniversary.

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