no accidental people

Isn’t it strange how your one life, your one story, can intersect with so many others? In one week. In one day. In a moment.

I was riding into Atlanta with a friend the other day, slogging through traffic on I-85, when this really hit me. Creeping through ATL traffic is annoying as heck, but it forces you to slow down. For me, at least—I start looking at the cars around me. Wondering about the people who drive them. Where they’re coming from. Where they’re going.

My friend must’ve been thinking along the same lines, because he broke the silence.

“Maybe this is weird. But do you ever think about the fact that there are probably people on this road right now that you know? Like, how many times have you driven past someone you know without realizing it? Or someone you’ll meet in the future?”

“I know, right?” I nodded. “Think about how many people’s stories are converging right here. Just because they all have to take the same road.”

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And that’s really how life is.

A road.

A road we travel for a time—shorter than we realize.

Along the way, our paths intersect with other people’s. Sometimes merge together, maybe for a long time. Maybe forever.

(Okay, I’m done with this extended metaphor about traffic now.)

The classic ride at Disney world insists that “it’s a small world, after all.” As much as I love Disney, I have to say, this world is anything but small. It’s huge. There are literally billions of people on this planet.

So look around at the people in your life. Because not one person is there by accident. Think about it. The odds of someone being in your life—out of the billions of people, in this huge world—are pretty small. Rare. Think about it.

Your family? Out of all families, you got this one.

Your friends? What are the odds you’d cross paths with all these people

Your coworkers? This job, in this place, with these people? Crazy.

That person you love? How crazy is it, that, out of seven-billion-plus people, two collided?

It reminds me of lyrics from a song by Sleeping at Last:

With shortness of breath I’ll explain the infinite,

How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.

I think life can feel so messy and confusing sometimes that these all these people feel incidental. They feel like accidents. We feel like accidents. But this just comes from a twisted worldview—specifically, a warped view of ourselves. When we don’t see ourselves as creations crafted by God, where do we get our worth? And if we aren’t seeking God’s meaning and purpose for our lives, how are we going to realize the story we’re part of?

It’s always interesting to see someone you haven’t seen in years. To pick a relationship back up after a conflict. You begin to see the subplots of your life come together. To see things and people you never thought were important suddenly become something new and unexpected.

Imagine how life would change if we saw every person as rare and beautiful.

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