“Could Have”

Random happenings we often call coincidences. No rhyme or reason it just happened. Trying to fill a prescription becomes evermore complicated because there is a person with the same full name and the same date of birth already in the system! Having just flown into London and catching a train to Edinburgh when walking through the carriage a friend we hadn’t seen for years. Crossing Charlotte airport concourse I bump into a friend from my home church in N. Ireland whom I had not seen for some 15 years! One of the most common coincidences people list is thinking of calling someone only to have them call you! Coincidences affirm our connectedness in this large but very small world! I am confident you can come up with a few “coincidences” that strike you as amazing. I certainly could list even more, but time and space forbid!

Whichever poet I am reading at any given time is my favorite poet! However every so often I have to return to some true and trusty poets whose work I so enjoy. For those of you who read this blog often then you have a good idea of who my favorite go to poets are! So today its time to return to Wislawa Szymborska (1957-1997) a Noble Prize winning Polish poet. Some of her poems are just fun to read. I hope you enjoy her poem Could Have in which she tries to explain some good fortune or is it coincidences?

Could Have
It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened earlier. Later.
Nearer. Farther off.
It happened, but not to you.

You were saved because you were the first.
You were saved because you were the last.
Alone. With others.
On the right. The left.
Because it was raining. Because of the shade.
Because the day was sunny.

You were in luck—there was a forest.
You were in luck—there were no trees.
You were in luck—a rake, a hook, a beam, a brake,
a jamb, a turn, a quarter inch, an instant.
You were in luck—just then a straw went floating by.

As a result, because, although, despite.
What would have happened if a hand, a foot,
within an inch, a hairsbreadth from
an unfortunate coincidence.

So you’re here? Still dizzy from another dodge, close shave, reprieve?
One hole in the net and you slipped through?
I couldn’t be more shocked or speechless.
how your heart pounds inside me.

Loving God,
every so often I realize
just how small this large world is.
We are so connected yet at times
we might feel so alone.
Over the years of life
we can list “coincidences”
some of which influenced us greatly,
or changed the course of our work,
or indeed helped us make important life choices.
Over the years
I am grateful O Lord for the people who have
shaped my life, from school teachers to close friends.
From sports coaches to youth leaders,
from parents, family, and good friends.
Loving God, thank you that along the way
there have been those who have journeyed
with me and helped make my steps both firm and faithful. Amen.

2 thoughts on ““Could Have”

  1. “Come and hear the preacher from Scotland”
    “Christmas Eve”
    “Second Pres”

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: