Wait For It . . .

god-bless-you-mr-rosewater-coverEight years ago, I drove to Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park to see my friend, Joe, who was battling liver disease. When I walked in his room, his girlfriend, Beth, was standing over him, sprinkling water over Joe while she said a prayer.

I asked her what she was doing and she said she was blessing Joe with rose water. I couldn’t help but smile. I reached in my briefcase and pulled out the book I had brought to read in case Joe was sleeping.

It was . . . wait for it . . . God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut. Love it!

Thanks to he-who-must-not-be-named blogger teapots happen for alerting me to this Kurt Vonnegut quote on synchronicity:

One would soon go mad if one took these coincidences too seriously—one might be led to suspect that there were all sorts of things going on in the Universe which he did not thoroughly understand.
Kurt Vonnegut

Mr. teapots happen also directed me to this incredible Vonnegut tale of synchronicity in his own life, which was posted on Trish and Rob MacGregor’s blog:


Levels of synchronicities are often apparent during emotionally charged experiences, evident in a story that Kurt Vonnegut related to writer Alan Vaughn, which he included in his book Patterns of Prophecy.

Anyone who came of age during the 60s understands the unique role that Vonnegut’s books played in the culture of that time. In Cat’s Cradle, he talked about the karass, a group of people who unknowingly work together to achieve some common goal. You knew you were a member of a particular karass when meaningful coincidences happened between you and other members of that group. But in Vonnegut’s world, there was a danger that you might mistake a random coincidence for a meaningful one, which meant you were involved in a Granfaloon or false karass.

Vaughn wrote to Vonnegut and asked him where the idea had come from about people being linked through meaningful coincidences. Vonnegut’s response is included in Vaughn’s Patterns of Prophecy. It’s a remarkable example of a synchronicity involving emotions and death—the death of Vonnegut’s sister, who was suffering from cancer, and the death of her husband in a tragic accident—all within twenty-four hours.

One morning Vonnegut apparently felt compelled to call his brother-in-law, whom he never phoned, and who was in a train that minutes earlier had plunged off an open drawbridge in New Jersey. As Vonnegut was calling him, news about a railroad accident came over the radio and Vonnegut knew his brother-in-law was on that train, even though the man never took trains. Within an hour, he was on a plane headed for New Jersey. By the end of that day, Vonnegut and his wife had adopted his sister’s six children. His sister died the next day.

Vonnegut’s experience involves two aspects of synchronicity. Precognition or foreknowledge of an event was evident in his sudden feeling that he should call his brother-in-law. Clairvoyance, also called remote viewing, was evident with Vonnegut’s certainty that his brother-in-law was on the train mentioned in the radio news flash.

The terminal illness and death of his sister, of course, added to the emotional levels of the incidents.

Click here to see all my posts featuring cool synchronicity stories.


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10 Responses to “Wait For It . . .”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Hi Phil,
    I love your blog. I don’t remember visiting your blog before. So I’m curious how you sent me an email?? Can you explain the process?? I new to this blogging stuff.
    Wishing you your highest good.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    HI, Sharon! Sure, you sent me a message on August 1 about the essay I wrote about my dad having Alzheimer’s (“Transcending Life as a Flowerpot”):

    “Really loved your essay. My family is going through a similar experience with my Dad. I wish you Love and patience with your father. And hope that time is kind to you both.”

    So I added you to my list for occasional e-mails. Hope that’s okay with you.


  3. Kim Says:

    What a great story, Phil! Reminds me of the time I was in the Minneapolis airport waiting for a flight. I was eating a meal there and a young woman sat down near me. We started chatting. The conversation turned to books. I said I just finished reading A Fine Balance – about a tailor in India. Her eyes widen, and she pulled that very book out of her carry-on, and said she just started it on a friend’s recommendation. She had just returned from living in India and the blouse she had on was made there by an Indian tailor. We were amazed at the “coincidence.”

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    That is so cool! I love it! Thanks, Kim!

  5. teapots happen Says:

    Kurt Vonnegut on synchronicity: http://teapotshappen.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/kurt-vonnegut-on-synchronicity – also some from his own life: http://ofscarabs.blogspot.com/2009/03/kurt-vonnegut-and-synchronicity.html

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Thanks, teapots happen! I just added your info to the post!

  7. annie Says:

    thank you for sending this. such a GREAT story.

    i also want to thank you for including me on your email list. your blog is so awesome.

    thank you for being you.


  8. Phil Bolsta Says:

    It’s my pleasure, Annie! Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Beth Tickanen Says:

    Another wonderful story, proving that you are exactly where you are supposed to be in this vast universe. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  10. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re very welcome, Beth!

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