I wonder why, after all these years, I continue to be awed and amazed by how small a world it really is. I’m writing this as I sit aboard a flight headed from Boston to Denver. It’s a full flight. As always, I’m seated in the window seat. The young lady in the middle seat is a nursing student at Curry College who grew up in New Hampshire. Seated next to her is a captain who is aboard the flight so that he can pilot a flight from Denver to London.

As she and I were chatting, I mentioned that I grew up in upstate New Hampshire. The pilot perked up, leaned forward, and asked whereabouts in New Hampshire. Here’s a bit of the conversation that ensued:

Me: Lebanon

Pilot: Me too!

Me: What year did you graduate?

Pilot: ‘87

Me: Wow! You must have known my brother, Mark.

Pilot: Yes. He was good friends with Craig. You must have known my sister, Ruth.

Me: Wait! Seriously, we were on the same bus for school…

In unison: Mr. King! Bus 7!

To say that we grew up in a small town would be an understatement. There were just more than 100 in my graduating class. The odds of being on the same flight as someone from my childhood are probably pretty low. But to be seated next to them is simply astounding!

After the flight, we chatted a bit and took the above photo (the plane in the background is similar to the one he flies), before he went to prepare to pilot a flight to London and I continued on my journey to Jackson Hole.

It’s wonderful to be able to make a new friend while reconnecting to my past. I’m still smiling thinking of the old neighborhood and my childhood adventures.

The gifts of these encounters are both being able to remember those joyful moments that may have slipped into the far recesses of our minds as well as to offer the benefit of perspective in recognizing how far we’ve come…how much we’ve changed since that moment in our lives.

Have you had moments of synchronicity like this? As you reflect on it, what gifts did this encounter have to offer you?