A Lesson in Serendipity That Started with a Banana Peel

**Warning: This post contains my personal thoughts on a topic that is very sensitive to some.  It’s not my goal here, or ever, to place judgment on others – only to express my opinion.  Thanks for reading!**

A few weeks ago, I left a banana peel in my garbage on a Wednesday night.  Then I forgot about it, like you do with banana peels.

It was a busy week and wasn’t home much.  By Friday morning when I left for work, I realized I had a serious problem: gnats and a few flys swarming in my kitchen.  I took out the garbage that morning but knew I’d have to deal with the problem that weekend.

My boyfriend and I had to meet up with someone at a local farmers market on Saturday morning.  Normally, I never carry cash on me, but I stopped at an ATM so we could buy some delicious goat cheese and tomatoes.

That afternoon, I went back to my place.  As I suspected, lots and lots of flys were buzzing in my kitchen and living room.  I was so grossed out.  Traps were needed.  So I walked to my local grocery store which is only half a block away.

For some reason, they were out of fly trap!  The stocker was as perplexed as I was.  He recommended that I go to the local hardware store, which was only a few blocks in the opposite direction.

So, even though it was hot and sticky and I thought of being lazy and taking my car for a moment, I walked to the hardware store.  On my way, I passed a sign that said ‘Garage Sale, Saturday 9-3’.  It was just a few houses up the block.  It was already 2:30pm, so I decided I would stop on my way back, if they were still open.  Remember, I don’t normally carry cash, but that day because of the farmers market, I happened to have some already.

Luckily, the hardware store had an assortment of fly traps which I easily located. On my way back, I turned up the street to see two houses packing up all of their items and one house that was still open.  It looked very picked over but I decided to give it a shot.  As I walked up the driveway, I saw a young husband and wife smiling and telling their customers that everything was half off.  I then noticed a sign: “Thank You for Supporting Our Adoption”.  Now I was intrigued.

Thru conversation with the woman, I learned that they were adopting a daughter from outside the United States, who was of a different race.  They already had 2 little boys and were excited to add to their family and see their boys learn about the world through the entire process.  I shared some of my own story with her and how much I appreciated what she was doing.

I was adopted.  I was born in the U.S. and placed for adoption at birth by my biological parents.  No, I’ve never met them; no, I don’t have any plans to. To be perfectly frank, I don’t spend much energy these days thinking about them.  But I do think about children who are in the position that I once was. Children who are in need of a permanent home are never in that situation by choice.  Some have challenges which they also did not choose.  It has never been lost on me that I was very lucky, because I was healthy and an infant and white when I was placed for adoption.  Statistically, those 3 facts made me easier to place than many.  My heart hurts for kids who don’t win that lottery.  It brings me great joy when I see families who make the choice to adopt, given all of the ways that are now available to people to create families.  It brings me even greater joy when I see people who look beyond special needs, challenging behaviors, age or skin color and are willing to give what all children need – a loving home.

I wanted to help these people, so I found 2 things to buy.  And as I waited to hand over my cash, a box caught my eye.  It was a first edition Trivial Pursuit game.  Identical to the one that used to be in my Grandpa Roman’s house.  He passed away a year and a half ago and of all the things I had always wanted from his house, that game and a checker board we had played together were at the top of my list.  We had never found the games, and I have been sad ever since.  It was one tangible piece of my childhood with my Grandpa I had wanted to keep and seemed lost forever.  And yet here it was, a box that even appeared to be discolored in the exact same places his had been.

I picked it up.  The woman told me I owed her $1.75.  I gave her more than that and told her she had made my day. That’s what my grandpa would have done.

That game, and what it means to me, and the fact that I found it, and the thought of a little girl who is alone right now, but will be loved by a family… those are priceless things.  And they all came together on one Saturday afternoon because I left a banana peel in my garbage.

If I had done anything differently that day, or the week before – or even six months ago – none of those things might have happened.  If the person who is responsible for making sure my grocery store has fly traps had stocked them properly, none of this might have happened.

But it all did happen, in exactly the right order.  In the same way that, if my parents had been able to conceive naturally (a circumstance which I know caused them great pain), I would never have known them.  My brother would not be my brother, my friends would not be my friends.  I came into this world in one place, and because of a list of circumstances that involved hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people… I was put in another place.  I owe my entire life to those serendipitous circumstances.

So what I would say to you, since you’re still reading this – perhaps there is a reason.  Perhaps whatever annoying, frustrating or hurtful thing happened to you (like a swarm of flies in your living room)… perhaps there was a reason.  And even if you don’t understand why things are unfolding as they are now, maybe one day you will.  Maybe your mistakes will lead you somewhere awesome.  Maybe every bad job or relationship is leading you to a good one.

Maybe, even though it’s not what you would have chosen, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

It is crazy to think about the number of circumstance that brought my family together.  (Me, my dad, my brother and my mom – at my brother’s wedding)

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