I have heard many people say that there are no such things as coincidences, that everything happens for a reason. There have been many happenstances in my life that have made me believe this same thing. One such thing happened yesterday.
Traffic had been particularly bad on my way downtown from my suburban home. Dreading the thought of getting back on the freeway to get home, I decided to take surface streets out of the downtown area and maybe get on the freeway later.
In my backseat were Christmas packages that I needed to mail to family and friends. I was tired and eager to get home, but I decided to take a slight detour and drive to the main post office. When I finished at the counter, I noticed a room in the back of the post office that was decorated as “Santa Station.” A wave of inexplicable curiosity came over me, and I walked toward the room.
I stood in the middle of the poorly lit room and saw special edition stamps and stamp tee shirts displayed. I didn’t know stamp tee shirt existed. “Hmm,” I thought to myself somewhat amused, “It’s like a post office gift shop. Weird.”
Then a woman’s voice came from behind me. She explained that staff opened letters addressed to Santa Claus because they were not deliverable. Staff catalogued, photocopied, and organized the letters, keeping envelopes with return addresses of the children who wrote Santa. I’ve seen TV news stories about this post office Santa Station, but I never paid enough attention to realize how the magic happened. And there I was behind the curtain.
“The letters are in here,” the woman said, motioning to hanging file folders in boxes. “You can look through them, and if you want, you can be Santa for the child.”
My hands reached for the first file folder and went toward the middle of the file, randomly pulling out a letter. I saw the handwriting of a four-year-old child – letters oversized, crooked and uneven, spacing very generous. The handwriting warmed my heart, but the language was what shocked me. The child wrote in French.
I studied French in high school and college for seven years, and I have continued my French studies with the Alliance Français. I have been to France three times, and I wish I could return every year. I’m a Francophile.
So what are the chances that a French-speaking child’s letter to Santa would reach a French-speaking American woman in Northern California? One hundred percent. There are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason.
Whose Santa might you be?
Joyeux Noël. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Holidays. And may we all be blessings to one another in the coming new year.
©Living off Island, Writing Wahine, 2017.