A Chance Encounter

When people talk about meeting themselves, they often mention where this meeting took place. Maybe it was on a hospital bed while fighting cancer; or in a church seeking spiritual enlightenment.

I met myself in a coffee shop.

It was a coffee shop in the city that I often passed, but never visited, not because of a lack of interest, but of time. But one day, when I had all the time a man could ever want, I went inside. And as I surveyed the contents of the small shop, I saw him. There, in the corner, sipping on a mug of coffee and watching the passing city life through the large glass window, was Myself. When I considered him, I concluded that he was much older than I, and noticeably wiser, too.

Knowing this wasn’t an opportunity I should miss, I got my own mug of coffee and sat down across from me. The initial surprise on his face matched mine exactly, but once it faded we began to talk.

I asked him of his travels, where he’s been and what he’s seen, and he was eager to tell. He told me everything he had learned about life while living it: What makes a right choice right, and a wrong choice wrong, and how to tell the difference. About the things we had both somehow always known, but never realized until seen face-to-face. Stories about the tragedies that caused tears to flow, and the events that caused endless laughter.

He gave me his best advice on how to think, and how to act, and told me to never let go of the things I value most. He taught me about respect, and confidence, and trust, and told me not to hold too tightly to life, as it will often change before we’re ready.

And as he got up to leave and pulled on his coat, he warned me of the reality of death, and how sudden it can be, and told me to appreciate the living while they’re still here. And after he had said all that he made his final goodbyes and left.

As I watched myself leave, I thought about life and the wisdom he’d shared about it. And I was glad I’d had the chance to meet myself in this coffee shop on a street corner in the city.

So if you ever enter a coffee shop and see yourself sipping a coffee in the corner by the window, take the opportunity to talk to him about life. You’ll be glad you did.

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