Last night while preparing dinner, I ate my first kumquat. I'd used the juice before, but had never bitten into one, flesh and all. About five hours later, thinking of the distinctive flavor of my snack, I logged onto my neglected Facebook account for the first time in weeks, maybe a month or more. The first update I see is from an old friend who had been on my mind several times during the day. Her status update reports that she is eating kumquats. I notice the status was updated about five hours prior, and I smile at the coincidence of our eating the fruit at the same time. I instinctively looked up to check the time, to varify the five hour sameness - it was now 11:11 pm. I smiled again. Because I have a history with this number, of seeing it everywhere. And, as one can do once a fifteen year history is established, I noticed a pattern - that I tend to see this number a lot during spiritually significant periods, periods of growth and truth. My mind went to a favorite Milan Kundera passage on coincidence (From The Unbearable Lightness of Being):
- They [human lives] are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life..... Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress. It is wrong then to chide the novel for being fascinated by mysterious coincidences, but it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty.
I scrolled down the Facebook page a little further to the status update of another old friend. She's quoting Milan Kundera. I closed my computer, satisfied with my dose of synchronicity for the day and turned to the kindle book I'd opened already, the one I had prepared to read just before distracting myself with Facebook - a distraction necessitated by my anxiety over reading the book. Joan Didion's A Year of Magical Thinking is a book I thought I should read this April, when it feels in every way outside my windows, on my walks, and in my bones like the time of year when I lost both my parents, one year from each other, three and two Aprils ago. That distinct seasonal feeling of the time when I lost them came later in the month this year, as the season was a bit later in settling. I took a deep breath and began reading something to help me confront what was keeping me awake. On the first page, Joan notes the times and dates surrounding the passing of her husband. She notes the time of her first written words after his death (though it wasn't the actual time she'd written them, just the time the document had last been saved) - 11:11 pm. I didn't smile this time. And I didn't return to Pinterest (again) to save images of interiors and gardens for a house I've only been obsessed with creating since the loss of my mother and our family home. I went peacefully to sleep.
And I woke early this morning wanting to write about this string of ordinary events, linked only by their meaning to one woman. But I didn't. I thought it better to post about something more appropriate to the reaches of this blog, to take my intense need to write this post and channel it into an appropriate subject. But I don't want to write the appropriate post. And I haven't for a while, so I end up posting nothing. writing nothing. stuck. What I want is to write this post, nonsensical and meaningless as it may be for others, indulgent as it may be for me. It's what I need to share. It's what is honest and all consuming. It's what I need to trust is linked in meaning to a chain of healing and growth, part of what I will recognize with some future historical perspective as spiritually significant. And because I'm at a point in my healing where just leaping and doing what I want with honesty and courage is important. because if I can't do this here when the consequences are so ... inconsequential (someone laughs? someone thinks I'm crazy or narcissistic or that I fancy myself a real writer? I don't give someone what they expect?) then when? So I will publish. But I will wait just one minute to hit that button - for the clock to read 11:11. I just finished writing. How about that?
image © Kristen Gregg - cherry blossoms on Capitol Hill