I was talking with a friend this morning and he said "I feel like you were meant to be here today." I'm not an especially religious or even very spiritual person, but I do believe that some paths cross for a reason. It's not quite fate or destiny, but definitely more than mere coincidence.
One of my favorite books is "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving (later made into the movie "Simon Birch"). That book has a perfect ending. Everything that has happened to Simon throughout his life comes together so that he could be there at one, precise moment, saving a bus full of children. No one else in the world had the unique set of experiences that allowed Simon to save those children. He was meant to be there.
Yesterday would have been my brother's 33rd birthday. Six years ago, he died of a brain tumor. After his second surgery, he was left with very limited us of his left side, and didn't have any fine motor control over his hand. One day, a good friend of mine, who I've known since the first grade, and who knew my brother since he was about 2 years old, came to visit. Since birth, she has only had the use of one hand, and she showed my brother how to tie his shoes. As I watched, I couldn't help but feel that our entire friendship led up to that moment. It felt like more than coincidence.
Another friend of mine, who is like a sister to me, has twin boys. These boys were born many weeks early, on my brother's birthday. Every year on November 19, I am given the opportunity to not feel sad, but to have something to celebrate. It feels like more than a random occurrence: a life is taken, another is born. (Or another two in this case. I always say that it took two people to replace the hole that my brother left behind.)
I'm sure everyone experiences these lucky coincidences. With so many people in the world, we are bound to run into others who happen to be in the right place at the right time. Every decision we make leads to another. But it is so much more interesting to think that there are other forces at work, more than mere randomness that brings us together. Maybe this will be my new religion. I'll call it "coincidentalism."