One of the things I love about life is that we never know what awaits us around the next corner.
I've always clung to the belief that good and unexpected things are around the next corner…things we can't plan or anticipate are waiting there for us.
It's become a self-fulfilling prophecy and it keeps life exciting.
When I'm going to a new place where I'll have the opportunity to meet new people, I do it with the sure knowledge that I'll find interesting people whose company will enrich my social life. I'm rarely disappointed.
I'm amazed at how many wonderful people we encounter during chance meetings. For instance, when my husband and I go to dances at our local cultural center, we always like to sit with strangers. They don't remain strangers for long. We have met the most inspiring people, just by taking the opportunity to talk with someone new. We come away so energized by the people we meet and the stories they tell.
Knowing that good things (and good people) are just around the next corner can sustain us through tough times.
A friend I deeply care about is going through a bleak period in her life. A divorce she didn't want, serious financial troubles and plenty of personal problems are pulling her down.
I tell her this bad situation is only the present. She needs to believe that around the next corner good things await.
"That's easy for you to say," she said. "I live in fear that around the next corner is another disaster waiting to happen."
What if she changed that attitude to expecting something great to be around the corner?
I believe life offers so many riches and I'm not talking about money. Maybe around the next corner awaits a new adventure, a new hobby, or a new friend. Or, even a new life.
When I moved to Florida, I had no friends or family here. But around every corner I encountered wonderful opportunities, new friends, new adventures and a totally new and rewarding life.
I like to wake up each day with the sure knowledge that the day could hold unexpected pleasures. So often, it does.
Today, I received an e-mail from a Bethlehem reader who was responding to the column I wrote about rewarding friends, both new and old. Marion had her own "around the next corner" story to tell.
She said she had a best friend named Joy throughout high school. They did everything together and stayed close after graduation. They were in each other's weddings and maintained their close bond.
But the passing years, military moves and all-consuming job of raising families meant they lost touch.
After Marion's husband died five years ago, she was determined to find her long-lost friend. "I spent many years trying to locate her. I knew she had a 50th wedding anniversary coming up and wanted to surprise her," said the 77-year-old woman.
That didn't happen. Joy couldn't be located.
But one day Marion had a message on her computer: "Someone in Las Vegas is looking for you." Joy had managed to track her down through the Internet.
Since then, they have vacationed together and have been pleased to find their bond of friendship is still strong. "We can finish each other's sentences," said Marion, who now believes more than ever in the "around the next corner" theory.
Jeanne Friend had a similar experience in locating her childhood friend. "I didn't know her married name but I found her on Face Book just by using her first name and town. I'm going to see her next week in Massachusetts," she said.
Jeanne and her life's partner, Ralph Romano have one wonderful reason to believe in good things happening around the next corner – they found each other.
"After being divorced for 11 years and never finding anyone I wanted to share life with, I was ready to give up," said Ralph. He said he tried Internet dating but no one he met interested him.
What he didn't know at the time when he was giving up hope was that around the next corner his life was about to change in positive ways.
Jeanne and Ralph had their first date on Valentine's Day, which is only fitting because Cupid has been working overtime since they met. "The chemistry was there and we both knew from our first date that we were meant to be together," said Ralph.
Jeanne says that after her marriage failed after 35 years, she knew she was going to be cautious the next time around. "I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted in a man," she says.
When she was visiting a religious shrine in Quebec, Jeanne prayed that God would send her the right person so she didn't have to spend life alone. The next day, when she got back from her trip, she found Ralph's e-mail.
After she met him, she says she knew her prayers had been answered.
Now together for over four years, both say they continue to delight in each other as they share life together.
Sometimes, around the next corner, we may find small stuff – a lost possession or a lost friend. Or, around the next corner, we may find the person or the opportunity that will change our life.
I like the little sign I saw in a gift shop that sums up this positive philosophy: "Believe and it will happen."