The Universe we inhabit is a Dynamic Cosmic Dance:

Example 1:

Consider the very impactful event of people's lives coming together to experience the same pileup on the motorway. Prior to this, each person lived their lives completely independently, up until there is a relative convergence of each at the point of impact.

Example 2:

Despite it only being made up of two even sides of 22 men (not including subs) kicking a ball around a marked rectangle of grass, no two games of football, regardless of very many similar score lines, are ever the same. From the moment the first ball is kicked, each action creates a corresponding reaction and onwards this dynamic dance evolves for 90, often glorious or frustrating minutes. [insert 6 score-line info] If no two football matches, with such formalised restrictions are ever the same and the exact progress of play cannot be predicted, how so, could anyone claim to know the history or future of any but a single strand of the entire world? There is too much complexity and it is evolving in 'real time.' Of course, this simplistic notion could be imposed over any game; from cards to chess or tennis etc.

Whatever little impact we might feel we really have in this world, we each change the world, imperceptibly, everyday and forever by everything we do and don't do. It is a simple case of butterflies' wings or ripples in a pond. Okay, so we perhaps do not have as much immediate impact on people and the world as we might were we to direct a couple of passenger aircraft into some very tall buildings (as if that is ever likely to happen), but that wasp buzzing around your head, which keeps you distracted - flapping your hands around far longer than you would have liked and causes you to step off the pavement and are lightly clipped by an oncoming cyclist and, much to the amusement of many pausing onlookers, the heated exchange in which you engage takes up enough time to prevent you from catching your usual bus and thereby causing you to commiserate with a fellow latecomer at the bus stop until you decide to share a taxi with them, which gets caught up in traffic and so you abandon it and rush two blocks to work, bumping into an old friend who hurriedly passes you the flyer to a play you otherwise would never have contemplated going to see, finally arriving late into the office having stopped off to recount your day (so far) to a colleague at the coffee machine, who offers to go to this play with you, staying far longer than they would have stayed at the machine and they miss a phone call...and on and on the 'dance' goes every single day, whatever you do and where ever you put yourself or keep away from. The world is a different place merely because you exist and so you are a very important person. And how significant was that wasp? Who know what seeds we sew or wheels we set in motion throughout our brief lives?

Whilst this phenomenon may not be quite so noticeable to you whilst you remain largely within the confines of your normal workaday life, its ramifications become much more apparent when you are enmeshed within the 'freedom' that avails itself to you when embarking upon an unscheduled, open-ended travel for any protracted period of time (like some gap year students, for example), where the world that unfolds before you is very much determined by the things that you notice or ignore, the chance meetings and missed meetings that you have by being in certain places at certain times and the precise moment you decide to leave them. It is unknown whether or not such freedom is illusory or guided via puppeteers in the background. Here are two such events that are almost the antithesis of each other but the question remains as to whether experiencing them this way around was good fortune, misfortune or no actual meaning whatsoever, other than that which I apply:

The story begins in 1984 whilst I was undertaking an unscheduled and indefinite period of travel around Western Europe and North Africa. The two separate parts of the story involves meeting two people in Belgium, a Belgian and a Dutchman who, knowing that I was intending to visit localities where they had friends in Holland (Eindhoven and Amsterdam), each gave me the names and addresses of friends whom they felt sure would be happy to offer me some hospitality were I to look them up when I arrived in their respective cities.

Event 1:

In fact, the second person had also suggested that I visit him when I arrived in Holland, which I did but, due to his having had an unfortunate motorcycle accident in the meantime, was actually in hospital when I arrived and, with his leg pinned in three places, was in no position to accommodate me. So, now on a completely different trajectory, I continued my travels. When I eventually arrived in Eindhoven town centre, I approached a man and asked if he could give me directions to the location on the note that I was showing him; a few miles out of town in a place called Neunen. After a momentary pause, to my utter amazement he replied, "That is my address and this is me!" I had randomly arrived at the exact place and moment to select him to ask. That one blew my mind for sure! You don't forget moments like that. I have no idea of the astronomical figures involved in this possible but improbable event, but I imagine that it hasn't happened to that many people.

Event 2:

When I arrived in Amsterdam, I made my way to the address I had been given but the house no longer existed due to demolition works in the area! Perhaps in some form of shock, I quickly left Amsterdam and went north to the lush green of Alkmaar for a couple of weeks, seeking out some other folk I had plans to meet, where I then had my 25th birthday. I then gathered myself and returned to Amsterdam and I made it my business to try and find this person. One of his associates told me that the house was in fact still there but that the number had changed due to all the demolition works and offered to telephone him for me. As it happened, I was to discover that he was now out-of-town for a few weeks - and thus began a completely different experience of Amsterdam than I might have otherwise had. I eventually met up with the man when I was almost ready to leave, stopping by the new number I had been given for his house and he let me in, whereupon I recounted the events.

So, if the first person was an amazing chance meeting, with regards the second person, it was an amazing miss; he had been there all along but my house details were incorrect and so I had left. When I returned, he was out of town and therefore unavailable. What might have been had things been otherwise, will never be known.

This is not the end of either story, both of which have permeated through my life at various times, even to the present - 30 years later. One may or may not evolve further, the other can never be told.