Serendipity: A very good coincidence, often leading to something really awesome. (Urban Dictionary.com)
I had occasion to take a cab yesterday.
I do one of two things whilst taking a ride with a stranger…. I either end up having a lengthy conversation about current events, the weather or the city I’m in or where I’m going.. Or I don’t talk much at all except to give the address and such.
When I got into the cab, the driver gave me a friendly hello and of course asked where I was going. I had to tell him where exactly it was as he wasn’t familiar with that area of town. I told him as well as I could, explaining that I was a recent transplant to Niagara region and therefore really didn’t know my way around too well. He asked why I had moved to this area and I gave him the Reader’s Digest version.. explaining that my life had been something of a challenge for the past year, but I was working on it. He wished me luck with my situation and told me that if someone wants something badly enough, they just needed two things.. to believe in it, and work hard for it.
Just to create conversation, I told him that there had been a mass of emergency vehicles in the area that morning.. a random girl I ran into while waiting had told me that some guy had jumped from his apartment balcony across the street. We both exclaimed how sad and shocking that was and I internally said a short prayer for the poor soul.
Mr. Cabbie went on to tell me that he could understand someone becoming so depressed .. so hopeless.. that one would consider such extreme measures.
He explained to me that he had been sober now for 34 years. I asked him what led him to that decision and he explained that it was his second wife.
He had been married very young.. at 22 .. and it barely lasted a year. He was a young buck who partied hard and his first wife could not withstand his wreckless behaviour and left him.
For several years he was alone and went through some great challenges, including being homeless.
He had been living in an apartment in Niagara when one night there was a fire. He barely escaped with his life, never mind any of his clothing or possessions. He didn’t even have a set of clothes… no insurance. Nothing was left.
He managed to talk a local store into giving him a small wardrobe and a winter coat on credit (it was February). He had to live in a shelter for a time until he could get some work and rebuild himself and his life.. it was a very low period and there were times where he self medicated so often with liquor that he considered his life empty and perhaps not worth the effort to continue.
But he managed to find the inner resolve to push forward and rebuild as best he could. Then he met a girl and remarried.
They were together for a year and he had once again succumbed to his hard partying ways and she left him.
He was devastated. He finally called her and said he’d do whatever it took to win her back. She told him that he would have to pursue addiction counselling and quit the drinking and the drugs forever. He agreed.
It was a tough go, but he had the resolve to do it because he knew that something better was there for him if he chose to work hard for it. He continued by saying that he and his wife recently celebrated 35 years of marriage.. and 34 years of his sobriety. They’ve had a wonderful life together .. three children.. and continue to share much happiness.
He was tempted a few times over the years, but knew if he faltered he’d lose everything that truly mattered to him. He’d been broke, homeless, addicted to booze and drugs. He resolved at one point to change his life. And although sometimes it was a struggle, he did it despite the obstacles.
“Anything worth having is worth working hard for”.. he said. I agreed with him wholeheartedly.
We pulled into my driveway and I scavenged in my purse for the money to pay him. “I’ve enjoyed our conversation… by the way.. what is your name?”
“Ian”.. he said.. “I’m Beth”, I replied.
“That’s my wife’s name!” He remarked. For some strange reason that did not strike me as a such a weird coincidence.
Every once in a while, you have what appears to be a random conversation with someone who teaches you something or brings you a valuable message or a life lesson. It’s serendipity. Finding something fortunate you really didn’t expect to find.
Both my personal and professional lives have been rife with challenges over the last couple of years and at times I can get pretty discouraged about that. However, here was a man who built himself up with far less going that what I have right now. Proving to me that through sheer will and belief and hard work, you can succeed.
Ian.. it was a pleasure to meet you. I think I’d better get back to working hard. I already have the belief that there is something better waiting for me.Life: Serendipitous Love: is a wonderful thing.. Pants: Just took a walk with puppy. It was lovely.