How much do you believe in "fate" verses "chance"? Do you believe we are placed here in the circumstances we find ourselves "for a reason" or "just because"? Do you think there is a greater force working over us and through us as we come in contact with others, or is there nothing but happenstance working in our lives? Have you ever felt that you were "destined" to meet someone? And if so, do you believe that there is a "reason" for such meetings? Or, have you ever really "connected" with someone, even if that connection was for just a brief moment?
Hollywood is full of such stories and examples. Great literature often wraps itself in the development of such encounters.
When I met Samantha in person last year, she testified to me of her assurance that we, in this little community of the bloggosphere, have been put here together for a "reason" - that this isn't just something of chance or happenstance. I have come to feel the same as she does.
Several years ago, I had an amazing experience that was out of a Hollywood script or the pages of a great novel. I was standing with my wife and kids in southern Utah taking in the wide and spiritual vista of the summer's late afternoon glow over the colorful desert landscape at an isolated location. We were alone, or so we thought. Soon, we noted, however, that there was one other couple nearby. They were speaking a foreign language that was surprisingly understandable... Yes, they were marveling at the scenic view before them in Italian. Not wanting to intrude on each others space, we both stayed silent for a while. But, then I couldn't help myself and I started speaking Italian to him and my wife to her. Within minutes we were chatting about all sorts of things, of our common interests, of our likes and dislikes, of our love for the desert and the West, of our love for all things Italian. We found ourselves amazed at how similar we were. Massimo and I shared the same profession and the same passions! Before we knew it, the sun was setting and over two hours had quickly passed by... and to the relief of our children, it was time to say goodbye.
Like we often say but never do, we told each other that we would write and keep in contact with each other. We shared contact information, gave each other affectionate hugs, and then we parted - never knowing if or when we would see each other again, but knowing that we had an amazing "connection" in a breathtaking place together.
Was this chance? Was it "meant to be"? What is chance and what are things that are "meant to be"?
Well... whether it was the spirit, or whether it was my gay-sensitivity kicking in, or my desires for friendship with this attractive, beautiful man, I don't know - but we did continue to stay in contact with each other. We shared our work together and swapped photos of our favorite places in each other's country. We opened up to each other about our desires and our passions. But, neither thought we would actually have the occasion to meet each other again...
until yesterday... when Massimo came into my life again five years later...
I knew he was passing through the area on another visit of the West and the desert, which led him back to Utah. He called. Things were quickly arranged. And yesterday came where he paid a visit to our house and we fell into each other's arms in an embrace of sincere brotherhood and kisses of friendship. We ate together, took photos, shared stories, updated each other, and felt each other's spirits again. We told each other that we needed to find a project where I could work in Italy with him and he with me. We talked about writing a book of our experiences in each other's countries etc. It was magical. We "connected". And now he's gone on his way again... (how I longed to go with him, but alas that was too Hollywood of an ending, us driving off together in the western desert sunset... ahhh!)
We hugged each other multiple times and kissed the double cheek thing multiple times. We were ragazzi "mates" and it felt spiritually right and of a "higher purpose". He asked about the church and my mission and that led to Temple Square etc. But, my pointing to a feeling of "destiny" is not centered around missionary efforts here (though some may feel it should be). No, I'm drawn to the fact that we are amici (friends), fratelli (brothers), amati (lovers) in a real and very predestined sense.
I mean, why did we first connect at the same place in that same instance in that same remote place speaking the same language (both literally and spiritually)? Is there a reason for these brief and intense encounters? Why did we not allow time and distance to diminish the spark of intense friendship? Is it possible to bond with someone so strongly and yet so briefly?
Is there a higher purpose in all of this? Or am I just a gay guy who finds any beautiful young male paying the slightest bit of attention to me, a passionate subject of interest and being the helpless romantic that I am (as my gay self lends me to such thoughts) I can't see this for just the fact that it was another chance encounter?