How often do you cross paths with someone you have not met before, strike up a conversation and take the time to hear their story, or even just touch their life in some small way?
In my previous life. I was way too busy and focused on my own agenda for that.
While I am still “agenda-ed,” I have learned to make the most of chance encounters.
I met “Tom” recently at our Live Well Kitsap community hike.
When I showed up at the Silverdale Rotary Gateway Park, I was not surprised to see that there was no one there that looked like they were waiting for Live Well Kitsap to participate in the nature walk/hike. (It’s August and we knew a lot of people are squeezing in those last summer get aways while they can, and the Kitsap County Fair was happening, so we guessed attendance would be light.)
As I looked around, the place was bustling and everyone seemed to be steadily pursuing their path, so I turned around to head back to my car. That’s when I heard, “are you with that living well company?” “Yes”, I replied, “ I’m afraid you and I may be the only ones showing up this round though.”
And then we began to talk. Tom asked questions about Live Well Kitsap which I am all too happy to talk about, including why we exist. At his prompting, I shared some of the other things we do for the community and local wellbeing businesses like our networking group and excitedly shared how we have our next Transformation event coming up in October. He seemed genuinely intrigued about all we have going on.
He proceeded to share a bit about himself, his health and lifestyle. I could quickly surmise we were on the same page speaking the same language though it was clear that Tom had perhaps 20 years on me.
After standing in the parking lot chatting away like old friends, I asked if he would like to walk. Indeed, he did.
I got to hear about his past work life, his billionaire brother and how that came to be, and the hobby Tom has of making jewelry that fills his spirit.
I learned of Tom’s medical condition and his western medicine doctors insisting that surgery was his only option. Tom opted to do more research and learned to change his diet, added supplements, and upped his social support and exercise. He believed he could deal with his medical issues with a more natural holistic approach.
Lastly, he asked for some referrals for massage and acupuncture to have additional resources to help him navigate his health journey. It really warms my heart to share the names of caring and professional people on the Live Well Kitsap site who love what they do and just want to help people like Tom. These are the moments that add credence that creating Live Well Kitsap was what I was meant to do.
By the time our walk was done, Tom and I hugged goodbye like “old friends do”. By then our blossoming friendship was a little over an hour old.
Truth be told, at our initial encounter I was one breath away from exclaiming, “looks like it’s just the two of us, so we’ll have to cancel and try again next month.”
But then I felt prompted. A tug at my heart. An awareness that this was happening for a reason. This might be a beautiful chance encounter.
You never know who you might meet that touches your life in an unexpected way. And you never know how taking a few extra moments might touch someone else’s life in a meaningful way.
We humans need points of connection. We need one another to thrive. Make some time in your day to give the greatest gift- your time and attention to someone else that you might otherwise just pass by.
Remember, sharing your time and your ear, is a gift. Life is short. Live it Well.