I think most of us do, not necessarily in the some-enchanted-evening way and not necessarily because we’ve experienced it ourselves, but because it has an odd sort of logic.You can’t go through life without acknowledging that we all come so front-loaded that there is no way that some essential part of us (commonly referred to as the “soul”) has not been bumping around for a good while before our actual birth. And that with all those souls out there bumping around, some must have bumped into each other before as well.
Even if you have never had the romantic love at first sight experience, certainly all of us have had such an incredible “click” in a first conversation that you feel as if you’ve known the other person for years instead of minutes. Or you’ve mistakenly thought you recognized someone who turns out to be a total “stranger”. Or you’ve walked into a place for the very first time and felt immediately at home.These connections are powerful and undeniable; there are just some people, places (and yes, even things) that somehow jibe with the essence of who you are instantaneously. It’s always an exhilarating feeling to meet up with these external pieces of your self—the serendipity gives you a secure feeling of being in “the right place at the right time”. Life seems to make sense and be on track; all is well in your world.
Then, of course, we also have the less often discussed “hate at first sight”. That icky feeling someone gives you before they’ve even said a word; a skin crawling, get-the-heck-out-of-Dodge urge to turn the other way and run. We call this our “instincts”, but doesn’t it seem possible that it may also be the recognition of a soul encountered before, except in a most disagreeable manner?The thing is, whether you believe we are born empty and new with that “clean slate” or if you agree with me that we are steeped in myriad energies from a past, present and future we can’t quite “remember”, you will still have these reactions to people and places. It’s a part of life we all accept; how many times have your “instincts” saved you from disaster or brought you good "luck"? And how often have your “love at first sight” friendships grown into the most important connections in your life?
I have written here before about a friend once “insulplimenting” me by saying that I look at everyone as if I were in love with them, and I won’t deny it; the fact of the matter is, most of you just kill me, in the good way. In fact, the name of this blog, Your New Best Friend was inspired by my husband once telling me, “You don’t know how to be somebody’s friend…you ONLY know how to be their BEST friend.”Another friend once opined: “If Kara doesn’t like you? Then you must be REALLY working at it!” This is also true; I may set the bar low, but once you are under it, all bets are off. Despicable people are blessedly rare—my God, doesn’t it seem like it would be a LOT of effort???—but once I have identified you, I have enough faith in myself to steer as far clear of you as possible.
As for everybody else? You are all innocent until proven guilty and P.S. the judge is a total pushover! In other words, even if we haven’t met: I think I love you!So in honor of all of my yet-to-connect true loves out there, I am going to give a shout out to a few of the fine folks I only came into contact with once, but will love forever:
THAT GUY ON THE MASS TURNPIKE: here’s the set-up…I am in college and my parents dropped a car off on campus so I could join them after classes on Friday at my older sister’s home in Massachusetts (I forget the occasion). But when I turn the key in the ignition, the fuel gauge reads nearly empty. I am broke, and I figure my parents would not have left me without enough gas to make the journey (wrong) so I head off on my merry way.Yeah, NO, the car runs out of gas and I literally coast into a gas station with almost zero money. I scrounge every nook and cranny of the car for change and huffily put all I scrape together into the tank (less than four bucks, but in those days probably good enough). And then I get off on the Mass Turnpike where I am immediately confronted with a TOLLBOOTH (and not the phantom kind)!
I have no money, it's the 80's so no cell phone (or pay phone, I am on a highway ramp) and not enough gas to make it back to campus. CUE: crying! ENTER: That Guy.He pulls over and taps on my window to ask if I am alright. I breathlessly explain my situation at which point he tells me exactly what the tolls will be and gives me enough money to cover them and then…leaves. I’m pretty sure even though I was in some kind of trauma-induced trance I did manage to say thank you. Because I LOVE That Guy.
MRS. ANGEL: (yes, her real name!) I never actually met Mrs. Angel, but one time in a mad dash to calls my folks and tell them which train I was catching out of Grand Central, I accidentally left their calling card on the pay phone console. Mrs. Angel found it, got in touch with my mom immediately and mailed it back to us. Mrs. Angel is aptly named, right?RANDOM PERSON WHO (like Mrs. Angel) USED A PAYPHONE AFTER I DID: okay, we are sensing a theme here (my idiocy), but one time, a-way back before GPS, I got some bum directions and drove for over an hour before I pulled over and called to confirm said bum directions. Turns out, my destination was actually mere minutes from my house, but in the OTHER direction. In a panic, I jumped in my car and sped off, leaving my Filofax (damn, I’m old!) on the payphone (really old!) with not only my driver’s license, but cash and my bank card and oh-my-God, I’m an idiot.
Random Person found my Filofax and drove for an hour to drop it off at my apartment and didn’t leave a name or any other information for a reward or anything. It was there by the time I got home from the job I had arrived almost two hours late for. Random Person, I love you so much it makes me cry a little bit.Then there’s the pizzeria owner who gave my girlfriend and I a free pizza just because we told him we were having a bad day. The cop who let me off with a warning when I drove the wrong way down a one way street (presumably because I jumped out of the car to explain myself wearing pajamas. Way back before “wearing pajamas in public” became a thing). The man who would gleefully shout “There’s the walker!” every time he saw me one summer I spent on Martha’s Vineyard without a car, walking every inch of that island.
The woman who told me, as she checked me out at the register, that my name sounded like something that should be announced from a podium at an awards ceremony. The anonymous person who washed my filthy car while it was parked out on the street. The two cops who came up behind me on a street in Philadelphia and lifted me, each taking an elbow, out of the way of a speeding car.Actually, every single person I met the one time I went to Philadelphia. They do not call that place “The City of Brotherly Love” for nothing!
Oh, I could go on and on and on! Because isn’t this how most of us live our lives? Not only do we help and support the people we know and love, but we are constantly aware and on the lookout for those opportunities to be the “random stranger” in someone else’s story. Our souls recognize each other and call for it, and more often than not we find ourselves exactly where we need to be to at the exact right time(like when my mom’s car CAUGHT ON FIRE and the guy in the car behind her HAPPENED—ahem---to be a volunteer fireman).“Love one another” may sound like a cliché, or pie-in-the-sky, but here’s the thing…it’s really NOT THAT DIFFICULT. We are all just a big pot of energy soup, combining our ingredients to make something savory or something bland or something downright inedible. But the more we tune in to each other, the more likely we are to create the savory; the more we listen to our soul, the more likely we are to fall in love at first sight each and every day.