Rochester, Minnesota - Have you ever met someone and instantly felt connected in a way that was so meaningful, like you needed to find them?

It's like finding a kindred spirit. I've often wondered how this happens. Perhaps it's divine intervention, or perhaps we send out some sort of silent signals that let others know we need them close to us at that time.

The universe around us is fascinating this way. I thought I'd share a personal story that's special to me. For a few years, I had the opportunity to live part of each year in Italy. I'd frequently take a walk just outside of the little village where I lived with my husband. I loved the beauty of the mountains in the distance and the rolling hills dotted with olive trees and vineyards.

Most days, my walk took me around a local villa with beautiful gardens. The caretaker was often outside tending to the gardens, flowers and shrubs. It was absolutely beautiful. Sometimes, I'd stop and sit on the stone wall around the villa to enjoy the view. It was my respite from a day of working on the computer.

The caretaker would notice me as I passed by and since he recognized me he'd wave or smile as I got closer. For some reason, I had a strong sense that maybe there was a reason I needed to connect and let him know that I loved the gardens. I wanted him to know that his work was meaningful and that keeping the gardens beautiful was important.

One day, he was close to the path tending to the lavender bushes. I loved lavender, so I stopped to take in the perfume of the flowers. He noticed me and said hello. I told him how much I loved lavender and how much I enjoyed the beauty of the gardens. He smiled and said it was his life work and kept him going.

He offered me a handful of lavender sprigs and we started chatting. I mentioned I was a nurse and had been living in the village for a few months. I told him my work was far away, but that I worked with cancer patients. He gave me a surprised look and told me he had recently been diagnosed with colon cancer. He was struggling to decide if he should have treatment. He was worried about chemotherapy side effects.

I mentioned that if he wanted to talk to me about it, I could help him understand the treatment. So, each day when I passed by, we talked about his decision and any questions he had. Eventually, he seemed to be at ease with the idea of going through treatment.

I reassured him that he was strong and could manage the side effects that might come from chemotherapy. For weeks, I kept track of how he was doing. Each time he had a break from treatment, he was back in the gardens. To this day, we keep in touch.

I'm so glad I took a chance and made that connection. I felt like I made the experience of going through chemotherapy a bit easier for him.