Two days ago, I wrote here about a couple of little co-inky-dinkies that had then just happened to me. (See my earlier post linked below:)
While I was typing the story of those episodes of synchronicity, another related episode took place:
A young mom and her 5 year old daughter had entered the café where I was writing, and had taken a table next to mine. We recognized each other from our having once met and briefly spoken to each other at the same café one day over two years ago. It was the only time I had seen them, until the day before yesterday. On that earlier occasion they also happened to have taken their seats at the table next to mine. Chatting with both of them again the day before yesterday, (let’s call the mother Joy-Anne and the daughter Gracy), they told me a little story about how their husband/father (let’s call him Alistair) likes to sing around the house and in the car, He sings very well but rather loudly. One day Gracy had asked her dad if he could please take a break and refrain from singing for a little while. When asked why, Gracy had said, “Because I seek peace.” Then Joy-Anne asked me, “And what is it you are working on here today with your computer and books?” “Oh My Gosh! funny you two should have just told me that story about Gracy seeking peace, because,—well, here,— I’d like to give you this booklet about seeking peace. It’s by a wonderful elderly woman I knew well for many years. Her name was Peace Pilgrim. I just found this copy of her booklet a couple of minutes ago in the book bin right outside there on the sidewalk. When I came back here and sat back down at my computer just before you guys came in and sat down, I found that someone had just visited my blogsite anonymously while I was out looking in the book bin. They had clicked on a post I had written months ago about Peace Pilgrim and my friendship with her. I was exactly Gracy’s age — five and a half years old, — when I first met Peace Pilgrim, and….” But before I could say more, Joy-Anne responded excitedly, “Oh, Peace Pilgrim! I read her book . . . many years ago! A friend of mine in Santa Fe had given it to me! Perhaps you know him? His name is ______.”
“Oh my goodness! Actually, I have heard of him, but we’ve never met.”
“Will you please sign the booklet for Gracy?”
“Of course.” So I inscribed, “To Gracy, a fellow seeker of peace, from your friend Sky. June 20, 2017, ___ (city), (in the state of)___. ”
They stayed for a while longer, and we chatted of various things. I told them a bit more about how I had first met Peace when I was five years old. But soon then they had to go. It was a delightful, serendipitous visit with two lovely people I was happy to met again for a second time.
And that is the follow up chapter in this tale of just one of my little adventures the day before yesterday with that whimsically mysterious kismetic aspect of book-related magic connectivity.
I’ve known other folks who enjoy similar book-connectedness. My friend Thomas Merton recounted some of his own such adventures with what he called “this fondly respected grace,”of the special workings of his “Book Providence.” My friend Vinapani used to speak of the mysterious arrangements orchestrated by her “Guardian Book Angel.” Throughout my childhood I use to visit and play occasionally with friendly members of the elven folk, and so as a child I viewed and referred to such serendipitous book providence as the benign shenanigans and pishogues of my friendly Book Elf or Leprechaun.
These various references all pertain particularly to the angelic (and/or pixilated) magic of suddenly finding just the right book you’d been wishing for or needing, sometimes even before you’ve realized you were wishing for just such a volume. Perhaps you have been acutely on the hunt for some particular title you need (or believe you need) for some important personal “research” project, but having searched all the usual channels you simply cannot place your hands on a copy. Then, moving on to other concerns perhaps, you may happen to turn an unfamiliar corner, half-consciously wishing to take a possible new short-cut home, or to your favorite café, when suddenly there is a copy of your wished-for book, sitting alone on an empty bus bench, or staring at you from the window display of a second-hand store. A copy of the elusive volume you’ve almost despaired of ever finding. Or perhaps it suddenly appears in your faculty mailbox on campus, with no note attached. Or some odd person sitting across from you on a train turns and hands you a copy, saying “here, I think you may enjoy reading this—if not, pass it on.”
Or, as happened to my sweetheart, your cab driver on your first day in San Francisco reaches over the back of the driver’s seat with the volume in hand, and says, “my last passenger left this with me and asked me to give to you.”
Of course such happenings are not restricted to books! But there is a particularly mysterious benign/divine magic of this sort surrounding books—at least for those who love and respect books and still feel a need for them, and always try to make the best use of them for the good of all beings everywhere. I’m sure it’s some special grace arranged by Ma Saraswati, Goddess of Knowledge and Learning and Writing and Music and the Arts and Wisdom in general. And/or of the Elephant-headed Lord Ganesha, Scribe of the Vedas, remover of obstacles, finder of lost objects, and of lost loves in general, and patron of many other forms of goodness and divine providential intervention. And/or the work and play of some other equally august divine Personage, some Personification of the relevant laws of nature, of the relevant aspects of one’s own (universal) self-nature, a vortextual emanation of some relevant aspects of the cosmic Self-nature of Reality as a unified Whole.