Here we are at the end of August and as we rush headlong into the unofficial end of summer, I find myself staring at the calendar wondering where the year went. It was this time last year that Mark and I decided to make an offer to buy the Guerneville store. I'm incredulous at the thought.
Not that we would be bold, (some say foolish,) enough to take on a second location. That choice was easy. Mark and I have few issues with coming to a joint decision. It's often a case of him saying; "You wanna try x?" and my replying; "Let's!" And off we go. Yes, I do realize just how lucky I/we are to have this dynamic.
I’m incredulous that we are on the cusp of our fifth holiday season in Sebastopol. I’m awed by the fact that on October 28th we'll have owned the Guerneville store for a year. I’m amazed at our good fortune.
I've been reminded lately by friends and family that we often make our own luck. I've always hewed to the belief that our choices shape our ends. Though the latter thought is not exactly the same as the former they are close enough to be similar. There's no accounting for chance so why try?
Yet, even in Chaos theory there is symmetry to be found underneath the asymmetrical. 5 years ago I happened to be at the same country western dance bar in SF as Mark. It had been at least 5 years since he and I saw each other prior to that chance meeting. We’ve been together since that re-connection.
It was 4 years ago Mark “happened” to mention that he would love to open his own used bookstore. I showed him that we could and so we did. We “happened” upon our current Sebastopol location one night after taking a chance one evening that the realty office on Main Street would still be open and might have a space available that we would be interested in.
We took a leap of faith and expanded the store after only being open a week. It was luck that the suite next to ours had become available for rent. It was miraculous that our very first donation was full of incredible art, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysical books and came just as our first holiday season was starting.
It strains credulity to think that all of the above was chance. So many happy accidents over a significant period of time seem to fly in the face of statistical norms. I’ve had a stretch of fortune as of late where what I’ve needed is also what I’ve wanted.
Yet in all of those events there were choices that Mark and I made. In the big “C” Catholic belief that Mark and I were reared on, Grace isn’t just given, it has to be earned. You play a part in your salvation. So is it chance or choice?
Maybe it’s choice. Perhaps it’s chance. It could even be Providence.
Whatever it may be, I’m grateful for all of it and everything after.