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Coincidences: Messengers of Truth November 11, 2014

Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review.
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At the MN State Fair

At the MN State Fair

This fall I went to the Minnesota State Fair with my husband and Asher, our one-year-old grandson. We took Asher to see the farm animals and afterward sat down to color a picture. A woman came over and said the picture could be entered in a contest.

When I told her my grandson’s name, she said, “Is he Nick’s son?” Turns out, she used to work for my son-in-law. Thousands of people were at the State Fair that day. What were the chances we would run into someone who knew Asher’s father?

 

 

Coincidences happen regularly in our lives, but are we paying attention to them? In a book I read recently, Maisie Dobbs by

Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs

Jacqueline Winspear, the main character is a detective in 1929 who pays attention

 

to coincidences in her line of work. As the story progresses, we learn that Maisie worked for a wealthy London aristocrat when she was thirteen. Her employer, Lady Compton, soon realized how bright Maisie was and had the young woman’s education nourished by Maurice Blanche. Under his influence “Maisie had taken to pondering just about everything that happened in the course of a day, seeing coincidences and patterns in the life around her” (p. 101).

Maurice takes her to see Dr. Khan from Ceylon, a man of wisdom and insight. From Khan she learns to sit in deliberate silence and still the mind. Later that skill serves to help her stay calm when she becomes a nurse in the Great War, serving on the front line. “But for now, Maurice Blanche told Maisie, it was no small coincidence that she often knew what a person was going to say before he or she spoke, or that she seemed to intuit an event before it had occurred” (p. 108).

The story moves seamlessly through the past and present. In the present Maisie tries to solve her first case, which appears to be a simple case of infidelity. Instead it leads to a much deeper mystery that takes her back to the horrors of war and has her dealing with her own unfinished past.

The book is the first in a best-selling series about a lady detective. It is also a historical novel and coming-of-age story. But what I found really interesting is the way Maisie uses her unique abilities to help solve the case and how the case is part of a deeper pattern that helps her face her past and move on.

The book reminded me of the larger patterns in my own life, such as running into a woman who knew Asher at the State Fair. We can call chance happenings coincidences, but what if they are anything but a coincidence?

Have you experienced a coincidence that led you to see there’s something beyond your everyday life? I’d love to hear your stories.

Asher at the State Fair at the Horse Barn

Asher at the State Fair at the Horse Barn

 

 

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