The story starts shortly before 5 pm on a Thursday afternoon. A friend called telling me that he can’t use his timeshare, and could I use it? He had planned to spend the weekend with his daughter but his ex-wife had thought otherwise. So, off I trot on Friday morning for three nights of blissful solitude in the mountains in a certain nature reserve. Terribly short notice, but too good to pass up. Was it tempting fate, or provoking karma, by suddenly liking the ex-wife-from-hell?
At about the same time in another town in another province on that fateful Thursday evening, a rather troubled and confused young lady decides, quite suddenly, that she needs some solitude. She wants time to think through her multiplicity of tribulations. She books a chalet in a certain nature reserve and arrives there on Friday afternoon.
Me, the unsuspecting geezer, doesn’t know what is about to happen to him. He has no idea yet that there is a young woman involved. Perhaps karma is setting him up to get lucky?
Karma moves on relentlessly
A Saturday morning webinar requires our hero to go the Lodge reception to connect to the WiFi. On leaving the building after the webinar a rather attractive young lady, who is two or three paces behind me, catches my eye. As taxing as it is, I manage to ignore her.
Some thirty minutes later, with thoughts of the attractive lass still fresh in my mind, I ask a waiter for directions to the Farm Shop. Again this young lady is behind me eavesdropping on the conversation. I am perplexed but again, with great difficulty, ignore her presence. Maybe she simply also sought directions. A further hour elapses when hunger pangs assail my belly. I order lunch at the restaurant and go to the bathroom to wash my hands. Returning to my table I notice someone behind me. Yes, as sure as onions have rings, there she is again headed for the restaurant.
I stop and ask her if she is following me. She laughs. What a great pick-up line! She joins me at the table.
Wow. Exciting. Has karma at last dealt me a winning hand?
Chit chat follows and all her troubles flood out. No tears. Just words cascading at 19 to the dozen. All I do now is listen, nod, ask a few questions and share some of my experiences and my philosophies for life. I try desperately to keep it light while I eat and she talks. No advice. No instructions. No prescription. Simply, nonchelantly, sharing thoughts. I shan’t elucidate the woes. There were many.
Karma reveals her purpose
Suddenly she becomes silent, her blue eyes staring vacantly over the shimmering lake into the distant sun-drenched mountains. She hardly blinks. Her breathing slows into a deep even rhythm. I stop eating, waiting in silence, hardly daring to breathe myself. After what feels like three lifetimes she turns to me and says,
“I've just found out who I am. Now I know what to do. Thank you."
And then she gives me one long stare with those beautiful blue eyes . . . and leaves silently. I’ll probably never see her again.
Her words reminded me of the Greek philosopher Socrates who said: “Know Thyself”. Perhaps by simply being in the right place at the right time, I was able to open a window for this stranger to ‘know herself’. Possibly this small incident changed her life and that of her two daughters. It is a comforting thought. I felt grateful and happy that fate had given me this reward. I slept well. Thank you, Karma.
So if fate ever presents you with an opportunity to help someone, use it. As Davey Crocket said in The Alamo “To feel useful in this old world”. The benefits for the person you help could be enormous. The benefits for you – – immeasurable.
PS: thanks also to my friend, and particularly his ex-wife-from-hell, who set the sequence of events in motion.