Lessons from A Chance Encounter

A few days ago, I literally had 20 minutes for a work-out between the school run and getting to the office. I was stuck for what I could do that was going to be effective in that time. Even though after 5 years as a full-time working mother, I had accepted my fate of hour-long workouts being the exception rather than the rule, my psyche still struggled with the reality that I had to make do with 30-40 minutes max on most days.  So 20 minutes was going to be a real test for me!

In the locker room, as I finished getting dressed for the deed, a seemingly ordinary encounter took place. J, a fellow gym member, walked in. We had regularly exchanged pleasantries over the past year or so. We just chatted about stuff, kids, exercise tips, what our exercise routine of the day was going to be, etc, etc. She worked with a personal trainer which I had done a few years ago, and we would talk about how good it would be to do that all the time, if only we had wads and wads of cash and wads and wads of time.

On this day, we actually hadn’t seen each other for quite a while – usually we would bump into each other at least once a week; but it had been more than a few weeks since we last saw each other. I casually shared my ’20-minute-plight’ with her. She said ‘oh just come and do this interval training with me on the rower. It will work everything, abs included!’ Lord knows I can’t stand the rowing machine, but today I was a little bit desperate, so I said ‘alright then, why not’.

A few minutes later we hit the rowers: 30 seconds flat-out at the maximum effort level followed by 30 seconds rest for 10 reps; then on to weights work using kettle bells and hand weights. A little more than 20 minutes later, I was done and sweating and aching – the aching lasted all day. J said 2 sets of that rowing madness, once a week would not only come in handy when I had little time, but would also add some much-needed variety to my routine and burn some serious fat for the next 48 hours (clearly she learnt a lot from her PT). And I was wise to take J’s advice – of course as women it was obligatory to that we poked into each other’s business before parting ways: J told me she was 48, with 3 kids the eldest being 20, and this woman had the body of a 30-year-old. I knew then that I could grow to love the rowing machine…

There are no chance encounters. Just chances to make the most of your encounters. Be open to what the Universe makes available to you. Kari Inga

I came across this affirmation 2 days after my encounter with J and the rower. It resonated so loudly with me as I thought about some of the many other chance encounters I have had up to now: a girl I spoke with on my first day at university who 23 years later is one of less than a handful of confidantes entitled to know the good, the bad and the ugly; the skilled beautician I was introduced to nearly 7 years ago who nurtured my courage to start a blog; the cleaning lady who whilst standing in for just a day in our office block last year, shocked by the sudden death of her colleague, spoke to me about the importance of not taking anyone for granted.  Chance encounters have consistently taught me:

  • God and God’s Universe always provide that which we need when we need it. It’s about keeping our eyes and minds and hearts open though, as what we need doesn’t always come with fanfare, all dressed up, trumpets blaring. If we maintain that narrow mind-view we miss so many opportunities
  • We never know what fruitful relationships sprout from the seeds we sow as we casually chit-chat with those around us. So we should always be positive and pleasant, listen and share. It’s much easier to be so than be the opposite! And if those chance encounters develop into something more, we must try not to place expectations on what that ‘more’ should be. Allow the relationship to blossom in the direction that God has intended it to go, trusting that Our Creator makes those that matter worth our while
  • Finally, making the most of our encounters is an opportunity to learn something new. And dare I say that the lessons we learn, always take us on to a higher level!
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