Every day we encounter signs. There are the obvious ones. They indicate directions. Announce something or draw your attention to important information. Sometimes, they’re so subtle or seemingly insignificant that you dismiss them. Despite what your gut or intuition or that little voice in your head might be whispering.
You negate those signs. Or brush them off as coincidence or a fluke. In the movie “Signs”, Mel Gibson’s character, Graham Hess talks about there being two kinds of people in the world. Basically, those who, when something happens, believe that there is some greater force at work or that “someone up there” is providing these signs. Then there’s the second group who don’t believe that there is anything at play in terms of these signs and that they are pure lucky or random occurrences.
I am not quite sure which group I would fall into. Sometimes I think that things are just a fluke. Coincidental and serendipitous happenings. It just happens that through the random lottery of life, an anomaly occurs and you’re the recipient of the winning ticket or not-so winning ticket. Whatever the sign might be. Its purely random and there is no “grande plan”. Just things happening.
Then there are things that happen which have no explanation but they happen close to another event that has no rational explanation. Seemingly random things that occur but then the human need for a rational explanations kicks in. We then start creating patterns or links in order to rationalize an occurrence. Someone “up there” is looking out for me. Or, in the quest to find meaning or a point to life, we grab onto the possibility that our existence here has to be part of some bigger plan. And that our lives matter enough for us to get these signs or signals which steer us in an alternative direction. Or the signs we ignore and then after the fact, kick ourselves that we did not see them or link them.
The loss of a loved one brings this into play quite a bit. You start creating linkages to seek out meaning of an event which has had such a huge impact on your life. What signs did you miss? Or the person’s behaviour before dying starts getting analysed as signs that they possibly knew on some level that their time was limited.
Or when you ignore those niggling little signs. Whether its around your health. Your job. Or something routine like driving to work. And then some calamity befalls you and you then start thinking, “I should have seen or heeded the signs.”
Then there are those signs that feel like they are more than what they appear to be. Something that seems out of place. Waking up in the middle of the night and the clock reflects exactly the same time or sequence of numbers. Choosing a different road home and bumping into someone you haven’t seen in ages. Or a pigeon randomly appearing at your window, hovering and flapping sufficiently to draw your attention to it.
What signs are you ignoring or not heeding? Whether you fall into the group of “no coincidences” type people or the group of “total randomness” type people. When something happens. It should make you stop and think about it, even if just for a few seconds. And in that few seconds you might negate it as random, or you might decide to follow where that sign takes you. But here’s the thing. Regardless of which camp you fall into, you own the consequences of that decision.
So to throw this back to Graham Hess who said it best in the movie. “See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?”