Sunday, June 26, 2011

An Easy Decision

I have never been one to struggle with whether or not to support the idea of gay marriage.  For some reason, it has always simply made sense to me that it was the right thing to do.  My reasoning has never involved more than the an appreciation of the idea that people who love each other should be allowed to cement their bond in a more significant way than just being boyfriends or girlfriends.  Allowing them to exist with the title marriage and ascribing all the rights associated with marriage to their union just made sense.  
Why shouldn’t all the inheritance pass to your loved one?  Why shouldn’t your husband or wife be allowed to visit you in the hospital when ill or make the important decisions when you aren’t able to?  I know I would certainly be pissed if Samantha and I were ever put in the position many gay couples have experienced for years.
I understand that for many people, the moral question of homosexuality dogs the issue.  Christianity regards homosexuality as a sin, and so their stand derives from a position that the church should not allow gay couples to marry.  For me, who has always appreciated the separation of church and state in this country (because of the benefit to both church and state), I have never understood this argument.  The state of New York assigning a marriage certificate to a couple has nothing to do with religion.  They don’t issue Christian licenses separate from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, or Athiest licenses. 
For me, since church and state are separate, the decision should rest in the values of the secular state, separate from religious institutions.  Those values have been steeped in the language of universal equality, granting all people the same rights.
Personally, I have never been uncomfortable with gay people.  I have an Aunt that is gay.  I remember being in the fifth grade when my parents told me about it and what being gay meant.  I went to school the next day and told my friends my Aunt was a lesbian, and that she loved women instead of men; to me, it was completely natural.  I still feel the same way.  I have had many gay friends, I have had gay room mates.  Gay men have had crushes on me, I have been hit on by gay men, and one friend even kissed me unexpectedly.  I have always treated these situations the same way I would have if a woman was into me and I had no interest in her.
You can certainly see why they were confused, even
though I was not.  I would have had better taste
were I actually gay.
People have thought I was gay, and I was fine with it.  I set the record straight if I thought it was necessary, but I was never upset.  Being an artsy musician in college eager to discover myself, I can understand why they thought that.  At one point my own parents weren’t sure of my sexuality.  I remember talking to my mom on the phone my senior year in college after I went on my first date with my wife Samantha.  When I told my mom that I had a date, she asked very specifically “what was their name?”  I still wish I had thought to say Sam instead of Samantha, just to see her reaction.  It would have been priceless.  Needless to say, I know my parents would have been fine if the answer had been Sam instead of Samantha.
I understand that many people are uncomfortable with gay people.  Gay culture is different than straight culture in many ways.  It tends to be more flamboyant, more unreserved and unabashed, more celebratory in nature.  This description could describe many ethnic cultures living in the United States.  I can sympathize with the discomfort because there are some cultures I am uncomfortable with simply because they are different than what I am used to.  I have never thought to exclude these other cultures from enjoying secular rights and privileges of equality, though. 
People worry that if gay couples adopt, it will spawn more gay people.  Gay is not a disease.  It is not contagious.  I have never believed that homosexuals choose to be gay anymore than I choose to be fair skinned and science is beginning to back this.  They can not simply choose to be un-gay like I can’t choose to be dark-skinned.  Try to convince me that I am not a straight man and you will find resistance; the same would happen when trying to convince a gay person they aren’t gay.  It only makes sense to me that we recognize who people are and allow them to be.
I believe that the nationwide legality of gay marriage is approaching, and much more rapidly than many people suspect.  While the right to marry is currently decided at the state level, constitutional challenges to the inequality of heterosexual only marriage are already in the courts, slowly making their way to the United States Supreme Court.
There is a boon for those who are against gay marriage.  Marriages cost money, $20,000 for the average American wedding.  Estimates on the GLBT population in the US range between 15 and 30 million people.  If half were to marry (and they would marry each other), the financial impact would be significant.  Based on the averages, GLBT marriages would produce between $75 and $150 billion in revenue.
No matter the reason, approving of gay marriage has always been a no brainer for me.  While I am not gay, I see no reason for me to restrict the rights of those who are.  For me, it has always been an easy decision.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

We are in an age where absent Fathers are the norm, not the exception.  In a country where 50% of couples who get married are doomed to divorce, more and more children are being raised by a single mother.  Fathers disappear, either lost in work, a new relationship, or simply through abandonment.  Even the President of the United States was raised by a single mother.  This has become a regular event for us.  Still, America has not forgotten the value of the Father.  We know the importance of Dads and we recognize that we need to find a solution to the issue.
Personally, I have a hard time understanding what it would be like growing up without a Father.  My brothers and I are lucky enough to have parents who are still together and who are still active in our lives.  While my Dad was incredibly busy providing for our family as I grew up, he still made time to support us kids in everything we did.  Evenings and weekends were devoted to us and to the family.  If we were involved in sports, he was there as a coach, if we were involved in boy scouts, he was there as a sponsor, if he couldn’t be involved as a leader, he was a fan, shouting his encouragement from the sidelines, or enthusiastically applauding from his seat.
Even though none of us live at home anymore, he still
gets to be Dad to Prissy.  BTW, he isn't really a Patriots fan.
As for many people, my Dad has been one of the biggest influences on my life.  He taught me the benefits of being able to work with a team, how to support others when they needed it, how to take criticism when I needed it, and how to combine your strengths to build the best possible product.  My Dad also showed me how to be strong when necessary and when to be soft.  He taught me how to stand up for my convictions when they are being challenged and how to admit when I am wrong.  He showed me how to apologize when necessary and when to forgive.  He shaped me into the man I am today.
While I don’t have children yet, I have certainly seen evidence of my Dad’s influence in my teaching and in my personal life.  I can’t help but smile at those moments when I hear my Dad’s voice come from my mouth, saying something he would have said, doing something he would have done, or simply just sounding like him. Because of his guidance, I know when to push a student who can go farther than they allow themselves, or I know when to back off because I have pushed too much.  I hold myself to a high standard because I know he would.  I do the same with my students.
Dad taught us the importance of having good looking
calves.  I guess I didn't listen to that lesson.
I am proud of my Dad for being such a good Father.  Being the oldest of three, with my youngest brother eleven years younger than me, I was able to watch him continue to grow as a Father as I attempted to tackle the world on my own.  I watched him learn which battles to fight and which to let go.  I watched him adjust his parenting skills to deal with our three different personalities.  I watched how children help make you grow as a person.
Besides instilling individual strengths in me, my Dad has also shown me how to grow a happy marriage.  From him I have learned how to be a loving spouse and supportive husband.  As I have grown into adulthood, I have learned from my Dad that relationships are worked on constantly.  He taught me about give and take, about the respectful and loving exchange of ideas and values as you and your partner merge your lives.  I have watched my parents grow in their relationship and am excited about following in the same path.  I know I will have to grow and learn, and that I will make mistakes, but I have been given a set of tools that will help me along the way.
Being a Father to your children is the most important job a man has.  Sure, you have to provide for them, you have to pay the bills and put food on the table, but more importantly, you have to teach them about the world and how they should interact with it.  You have to show them how to be a good person, how to love and respect other people, and how to grow yourself.  You have one of the most important jobs in the world and it isn’t your career - it is your family. 
For those of you like me who don’t have children, be as strong an example of what it means to be a man to those young people around you.  You never know when one of them might come from a home with an absent father.  Your influence might be the difference in their life.

Thank you to all the Fathers out there for your efforts.  You are making the world a better place, one child at a time.  Thank you to my Dad for being such a great Pop.  I would not be the man I am today without you.  I love you and respect what you have done for me and our family.
Happy Fathers Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Written in Sand

At the beginning of March, I wrote a blog I called The Body Blog, detailing my desire to lose some weight and trim my ambiguous shape.  Ultimately, I was more concerned for my appearance (I was going to a water park with my students and wanted to feel comfortable with my shirt off in front of them) than I was for my health, although my weight at the time put me outside of the healthy range for Body Mass Index.  I set my goal of dropping to 170 by May 14 and I went to work.
I started very slowly.  I had to learn all of my bad habits - large portion sizes, desire for copious amounts of sugar, eating late at night - and I had to figure out how to get rid of them.  I am vegetarian, and while it would seem being vegetarian would promote healthier eating, it really doesn’t if you aren’t particular.  My food choices tended to stray more towards the cheese and breads group instead of the healthier fruits and vegetables.  I have never pretended that I became vegetarian because of my love of vegetables.  If I was given the choice between a nice bowl of pasta with cheese sauce and a salad, I would gladly choose the pasta.  Then I would add more cheese to it.
One of the easiest ways to battle my eating habits was to find a calorie counting app for my iPhone.  I decided to use Lose It!, which also came with a website.  As soon as I ate anything, I input it, watching my calories approach the limit for the day.  Another nice feature is that I could input exercise as well, and it would reduce my total calorie consumption by the amount I had burned.  That helped motivate me to exercise more.
I was good for two months, watching what I ate and when I ate it, exercising regularly, keeping myself focused on my goal.  I had a few breakdowns during the time, but I always got back on track.  I shrunk my weight from 184 to 176, only six pounds from my goal of 170.
Then May hit.

For anyone who is a band director like I am, May is the devil.  While the rest of the school winds down towards the end of the year, we gear up.  While core curriculum teachers focus on the advent of the summer, band directors focus on the immediacy of today, shoving tomorrow further and further away.  Summer?  What is that?
May is full of band placements, band trips, performance benchmarks, new marcher camp, drum major auditions, officer elections, band banquet, graduation band practice, the spring concert, inventory and instrument assignment, registration night, uniform fitting, merchandise purchasing, marching season planning, cleaning, performance based finals, parent meetings, budget meetings, letter jacket fittings, and a plethora of other items I have conveniently blocked from my memory.
Needless to say, the running stopped, the bike riding stopped, the dieting stopped.  I am a stress eater, I eat my feelings (as one student put it), and I had a lot of stress and a lot of feelings to eat.  I weighed myself yesterday and I was 184 again, erasing all the gains I had found during March and April.  So, now, I am back on the wagon, aiming for that ever elusive 170.  According to LoseIt, I will reach that goal on August 1.
Instead of beating myself up for not hitting my goal on May 14 like I wanted, I am choosing to acknowledge my mistakes, hoping to learn and adjust for the next go.  There is no reason I should berate myself for my weak will when it comes to sweets, or for the ease fast food or donuts offers when it comes to a quick meal in between work obligations.  I prefer to simply fast forward to my next attempt, where I can build on the process instead of tearing down my previous efforts.  As long as I have learned something, and don’t simply repeat the same cycle as before, then I am doing the right thing.
Writing our goals in sand is important.  When a goal is written in stone, it will always be there, reminding you of your failure, and the weight it bares on your shoulders.  Writing your goal in sand allows editing if adjustments are needed.  Having that freedom to mess up, the freedom to know that you will allow yourself a re-do, is liberating.  Too many of us collapse under the pressure of a goal written in stone, when all it takes is a small adjustment to get us to where we want to be.  
For me, August 1 is now the new date.  I have smoothed over the place where I wrote May 14, erasing the guilt and burden I could have felt.  Now, I am free to move forward again, using the lessons I learned to help propel me to my goal.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What Love Is

Today is Samantha and my six year anniversary.  As it does at every milestone in my life, I am surprised at how quickly the time has passed.  We met over nine years ago, when I was adorned with a glorious, golden, afro.  Oddly enough, she didn’t find me attractive.  I can’t even begin to understand why not.  Needless to say, while I still feel like the same person inside, I am very glad the person on the outside has changed.  My hair is its natural color and a much more reasonable length, and I know she likes it better.  I know for a fact that we wouldn’t have even started talking if I had not cut it.
Amazingly, Samantha has chosen to put up with me this long.  She has tolerated my see-sawing vegetarianism, jumping along with me as I bounce between eating meat and not.  How has she managed to survive?  The answer: I cook.  She once told me she never knew if I was going to show up for dinner having decided to be vegetarian again, so it made sense for me to cook.  She has been a good sport, only slightly rolling her eyes every time I flip flop.
See, a pink shirt and a pink tie.  She did that.
I wear it all the time now.
She has also helped me to expand my wardrobe, freeing me from my exclusive contract with “earth tones.”  My dedication to tans, browns, and dull greens was less because of my love for those colors, and more from my insecurity as to what I should put on my body.  She has livened up the closet with blues, reds, pinks, yellows, and purples - all of which I gladly wear.
Not my real hair.  It was a wig.
I also appreciate her willingness to go along with my hippy attitudes.  Since we have known each other, I have tended to walk my own path, preferring to avoid the congested lanes of the mainstream.  She has listened to me wax rhapsodic on my newest discoveries, keeping up a steady stream of affirmatives.  We keep a witty banter going, and she always keeps me on my toes.  Some of my favorite moments have been when she has the opportunity to throw my hippiness back in my face, teaching me a lesson I had been preaching for years.  She is my best teacher.
I love learning who she is.  Every day, as we discover more about our own selves, we get to share.  We get to watch each other expand from the person we met and fell in love with.  We get to help each other grow, fertilizing, watering, and occasionally weeding.
Love is overcoming adversity.
When I was 22, I thought I knew what love was.  Then Samantha and I met and fell in love.  Everyday since, I learn my youthful mind was wrong.  This is love.  Love is teaching each other, affirming and forgiving.  Love is discovery.  Love is falling asleep on the couch while watching a documentary, or calling out every bump on the road so she can put on her makeup while we drive.  Love is giving of yourself so the other person doesn’t have to.  Love is exciting, love is boring, love is a combination of the roaring fire and the shimmering coals.  Love is what Samantha and I have found over the last nine years we have been together and the last six years we have been married.
Happy Anniversary Honey.  I love you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Blind Spot

When I drive, no matter what I am driving, I always strive to prevent having a blind spot.  I adjust my side mirrors to see everything that is directly to the sides of the car.  I move the rearview mirror to see directly behind me and to fill in the gaps in coverage.  I want to feel like I can move from lane to lane with out having to check to see if anyone is there.  I usually do a decent job arranging things so I can.
I do my best to construct my life in the same manner.  I work to keep my sight on everything, keeping my awareness elevated so nothing jumps out and surprises me.  I attempt to keep every project on the front of my mind, preparing myself for each and every possibility.  My brain keeps busy; I am always on my toes.
This week, as I was going about my business on the roads of Houston, I had a couple episodes with a car hiding in my blind spot.  In both instances, I was changing lanes to the right, once merging, once just changing lanes.  Both times, just as I crossed into the lane next to me, I noticed motion in my peripheral vision, alerting me to the presence of another vehicle.  I quickly adjusted back into the original lane, waving an apology to the disturbed driver.  Thankfully, they accepted my apology.
The same thing has happened in my life this week - all on the same day.  While at work on Tuesday, I sent what I thought was a harmless, informative text to one of my co-workers.  I received an extremely unexpected response, seemingly coming out of left field to blind-side me with its irritation, hate, and vitriol.  Later that morning, in another instance, I received a call from Samantha letting me know her car would not start.  She had appointments to keep and I needed to alter my schedule to help her out.  Finally, when I was home later, I was walking around the house, trolling for weeds with Roundup.  I discovered that my sprinkler system was leaking from the house.  None of these instances were planned for - they were all in my blind spot.
Ultimately, the importance of preparing your blind spot is actually quite low on the totem pole.  I appreciate that attempting to plan for each and every eventuality is noble, but I also realistically know I can not prepare for all possibilities.  While I have a medicine cabinet at home, I do not have every medicine for every ailment.  On the more extreme side of things, I do not have a active plan in the event of an asteroid strike on the Earth.  I could spend my time on both of these events, but it could, and should, be spent on better activities.
The more important issue is knowing how I will react to unexpected situations.  Will I be the person that freaks out?  Will I be the person that punches at the punches or rolls with them?  On Tuesday, I had the unfortunate opportunity of being both.
With the car issue, after returning home from work, I called the resident family expert in all things car - my Dad.  His advice was solid and simple: give the battery a good long jump, see if the car will start, and run it up to the local Autozone for a battery test.  I followed each and every step, quickly discovering the easy solution was a battery replacement.  I am glad it wasn’t anything worse.  I rolled with the punches.
For the sprinkler system, I followed the same simple plan.  I diagnosed the problem - a broken seal at the spigot - stopped by the Ace Hardware on the way back from Autozone, picked up the correct part, and fixed the problem.  I rolled with the punches.
I definitely did not roll with the punches when it came to the text message situation.  I reacted calmly to the first response, working to keep everything professional and civil, but the other person chose to elevate the stakes; I let them get under my skin and dictate my mood.  Unfortunately, I said some things I regretted, which were out of my normal behavior - I was punching at the punches.  I allowed myself to be drawn into someone else’s drama.  Regardless of the other person’s behavior, my reaction is the most important part of the equation, after all, it effects me directly.  When it came at me in my blind spot, instead of just sliding out of the way as I did the other two instances, I turned the wheel and slammed into them as hard as I could.
Do I drive this way?  No.  Why should I go about my daily life like this?
You can’t prepare for everything.  Your blind spot will always exist, no matter the extensive precautions you might take.  You know this.  I know this.  The most important thing is to be prepared for your reactions.  Do you roll or punch back?  Really, the choice is yours.  As you travel the road of life, you can choose to reach the finish line as fresh as you started.  Or, you can limp to the end, beaten, battered, and bloody.
I know which I prefer.  Do you? 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Smartest Woman I Know

Samantha and I have been part of the Mary Kay family for nearly three and a half years now.  She attends her weekly success meetings and brings back tidbits of Mary Kay philosophy, blurbs and sayings the Mary Kay consultants use and pass on to motivate themselves to greatness.  Many of these ideas have found their way onto the pages of my blog because they ring true to me, echoing my own beliefs about how to treat people and how to treat yourself.
Just recently I wrote a blog on faking it until it is real - that is straight from Mary Kay.  Mary Kay also teaches that it is none of your business what people think of you.  The debt free, privately owned, $5 billion corporation is founded on the precepts God first, Family second, Career third, putting the emphasis on what is important on life before anything.  What other multinational company could say such a thing and get away with it?
When Samantha and I made the decision to pursue Mary Kay as a business (because it is a business and not just a hobby), I knew all about the numbers.  I knew that you made 50% from everything you sold.  I knew that as a home-based business, simply signing your agreement opened the door to thousands of dollars of tax relief (our first year we got $2,500 back, and we didn’t do a great job taking advantage of all the tax benefits).  I knew that if you chose to grow your team through sharing the Mary Kay opportunity, you could earn a commission check from Mary Kay just like any other corporate sales job (I did learn that Mary Kay is not a pyramid or a multi-level marketing scheme because your commission comes from the company and not from your recruits).  I knew that you could give yourself a promotion simply by introducing someone to a company that choses to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself.  I also knew that someday you could earn a PINK CADILLAC.
Since then, I have learned a lot.  I have learned that the Mary Kay business is an investment, and your return is determined by how much you choose to put into it - be it money or effort.  I have learned to celebrate small things because they are worth celebrating.  I have learned that you can earn more than just money and prizes (and they are big on both).  You can earn self-confidence.  You can earn self-reliance.  You can earn a go-give attitude.  Mary Kay has a way of showing you the person you can be and giving you the map to get there, if you chose to walk the path.
Every Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant’s path is different.  Our path has taken us up and down, it has taken zigs and zags, we have coasted, sprinted, crawled, and strolled.  We have always moved forward, even if it was inch by inch.  Samantha has worked hard and she has worked smart.  She has taught me when and how I can help her (even if I don’t always listen or follow through).  She has taught me when to encourage and when to stay out of the way.  She has taught me better skin care (which is why I like to believe some of my kids think I am 25 instead of 31), shown me new and exciting ways to look at the future, and opened my eyes to the promise of financial freedom.
Samantha has had many milestones along the path.  This week, she has earned her biggest one yet - the legendary free car.  No, not the pink one yet, that is still a little further down the path.  Soon, you will see us driving everywhere in a free Mary Kay Chevy Malibu (known as the “boo” in their unit meetings).  We could have taken the cash option of $375 a month, but prefer the outwardly visible sign of the fruits of Samantha’s hard work.  I can’t wait.  This is going to be sooooooooo much fun.
Samantha could not have done this alone.  Mary Kay believes in a team effort, and without Samantha’s Rockstars (the name of her future unit), this would not have been possible.  I have to thank them for the opportunity to work with such classy, hardworking, and self-confident women.  We never would have gotten to this point with out them.  They truly are Rockstars!  I can’t wait to celebrate each and every one of them as they work to earn their own free cars.
Down the road is hard work, but there is also reward.  I am excited to help Samantha achieve her next milestone - directorship - which leads us closer to financial freedom.  I am also excited about the next two levels of car - Toyota Camry/Chevy Equinox and the Pink Cadillac CTS or SRX.  I am excited about everything Mary Kay has to bring us.  I am excited to see Samantha achieve and grow as a person, a woman, and a wife.  I am excited that an opportunity like this even exists.  Thank you Mary Kay and thank you Samantha for being the smartest woman I know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cum Incidere

These two Latin words - cum and incidere - work together in English like peanut butter and jelly.  Cum is pronounced with a hard “k” sound and a long “oo” sound and is defined as the term “with.”  There are a few other ways it can be used, but generally, “with” is a pretty strong definition.  We encounter “cum” regularly at commencement where students graduate “summa cum laude,” with highest honors.  Incidere is pronounced with the same hard “k” sound and all the vowels are pronounced short; it sounds like this - in-kid-err-eh.  Incidere means “to fall into.”  The reason these two words are like peanut butter and jelly?  Put them together and they form the subject of today’s blog - coincidence; literally, falling together.  
The English word coincidence, derived from these two Latin roots, is defined by Webster as the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.  I think most of us are familiar with this definition, and most of us have had some sort of experience they would define as coincidental.  Another use of the term many of us might not be as familiar with is a scientific use - the occurrence of two beams of light striking a surface at the same point at the same time.  
I encountered a coincidence of sorts this Memorial Day.  Instead of relaxing in my backyard or at a barbeque like millions of Americans, I woke up early, traveled on a bus to Austin, and spent my day at the University of Texas for the Texas State Solo and Ensemble contest.  After we arrived, we sent the kids off to their respective rooms to check in.  I wandered around for a little while before my phone rang; it was one of the students calling.  She asked me when her pianist was scheduled to arrive at her room.
Her pianist?  Her pianist?  Well, the morning hadn’t started out perfectly with this particular student or with myself, so this question shouldn’t have been a terrible surprise.  Before we left, we had discovered I had somehow forgotten to get judges copies together.  Thankfully we had most of them in house, so I dug through the stacks and found what I needed.  What I didn’t have was this particular student’s music.  What came next was an early morning phone tree, followed by a late departure, then a rendezvous in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  Amazingly, after all this, we only arrived five minutes behind schedule.
So, back to the pianist.  A couple of weeks before, when I was arranging for piano players, I briefly conferred with the students to double check whether or not they needed one.  In my and one of my co-worker’s memories, this particular student said she would not need a pianist.  I trusted her - she is an intelligent child - and I trusted my hearing, so I didn’t double check.  I guess I should have because she is calling me asking when her pianist would be arriving.  If it hadn’t already been 95 degrees outside, I would have started sweating.
I called the other pianist we had contracted to play, but he wasn’t available at that time.  I called another director to see about their pianist - he was at lunch and would need to see the part before deciding.  We checked with the contest office to see if there were any UT pianists hanging around eager to earn $50.  They gave me a number.
I prioritized my options.
  1. Other pianist heading back from lunch.
  2. Contracted pianist at a later time.
  3. Call UT kid.
I decided to try for the guy coming back from lunch.  He needed to see the music, so we headed out towards the science building where my students were.  We sweated our way through campus trying to get our brains around the problem.  We talked through our options, made sure we knew the location of an ATM in case we needed to pay cash right then.  Finally, we arrived at the building and got out of the heat.
We walked into the elevator vestibule and there standing in front of me was my coincidence (who also happened to be the savior of this particular story).  During college Samantha was in Sigma Alpha Iota, a music sorority.  Her little sister was a pianist, who, after she graduated with her piano degree, decided she loved accompanying.  She chose to continue her studies in accompanying at UH and was now working on her Doctorate.  And here she was standing in front of me!  We had fallen together.
There are so many times in our life the universe swoops in and saves us at the last minute.  Rarely do we stop and reflect on the significance behind the events leading up to a chance encounter.  As my solution was standing in front of me, I no longer needed to run around with my head cut off; I could pause and reflect.
This was my coincidence.  Our two paths coincided at the elevators in Robert Moore Hall on the UT campus.  This was the only possible place we could have encountered each other as I had approached the building from a different angle than she, parked in a different area, and had students on a different floors.  The meeting between the two of us was perfect.  We were two beams of light striking a surface at the same point at the same time.
Honestly, if we had just encountered each other, and I had not had a problem to which she was the solution, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it.  We probably would have said hi, exchanged some pleasantries during the elevator ride, and then not seen each other again for months or years.  Instead, she fit the puzzle I was desperately trying to solve.  
I do believe there is significance to coincidences such as these.  I do believe that people are often drawn together to serve some purpose just as we were.  Could it have been because of the direction of an omniscient God laying out playing pieces?  Sure.  Or could it have been the power behind the thought I was transmitting into the Universe attracting the solution?  Yes.  Either way, it happened, and I don’t believe it was by accident.
Look beyond the occurrences in your life and search for the hidden.  I don’t think any encounter is insignificant, we only happen to pay attention to those that seem to carry more weight and consequence, such as this one.  We can never understand the weight of even the tiniest of encounters.  The order of events stemming from everyday actions could have the power to change the world.