The older I get, the smaller the world seems. I attended a Zoom meeting last week after being invited to be part of a journalism project in my state of Kentucky. It was a small meeting of just three of us.

A fourth person signed on and I smiled: a familiar face. We’d worked together a few years ago.

I love it when this happens. I’ve certainly crossed enough paths more than once to know that many things do come full circle. Past interactions have somehow forged the paths to my future, unbeknown to me. Just this week, I serendipitously ended up in two different conversations with people I’ve encountered before.

If karma is a thing, then connections are certainly part of its DNA.

Perhaps, I’m just one of those connectors that Malcolm Gladwell writes about in his book The Tipping Point. When I moved out of state for a few years, I overheard my mom tell someone, “Give her a year and she’ll know everyone in town.”

I seemingly proved her right a few months down the road when I ended up working on a project with the ex-wife of one of my mom’s friends.

If you ask my mom, Kevin Bacon has nothing on me. It’s true I value connection and seek out these opportunities. But I think it’s more than just being a hopeless connector.

Every connection made is a sort of building block in life; we just don’t know where it will mortar itself in our foundation — though it is up to each of us whether the foundation is one on which we’d be proud to stand.

If someone comes across my path more than once, I hope they are glad to see that I’ve returned. In fact, that is my mission.

Mission statements became a thing when I was growing up and I wrote one for myself. This was before I became a professional writer.

I did not own a business or lead an organization or anything. I was simply a young adult and wanted to put my values into words. I liked the idea of having a personal mission statement.

I wrote, “My mission is that every person who crosses my path is better off for having done so.”

Like the Marge Piercy poem, I want to be of use. That doesn’t mean I am a people-pleaser, and it doesn’t mean people always like me or what I have to say. I stand up for what I believe in.

Any parent will tell you that just because the child is better off doesn’t mean they are happy about it. There is so much going on in the world that is worthy of our fight, of our tenacity.

Aiming for honesty and integrity while identifying solutions with the greater good in mind is purpose in action. It’s knowing others are, or will be, better off because they’ve crossed our paths.

Instead of concerning ourselves with karma, perhaps we should be more dutiful in our connections. Walk into every situation looking for ways to contribute. Listen with agency.

If we approach every interaction with intention, then each connection made will spiral out to produce solutions and touch future experiences we’ve yet to envision. Our good deeds and good energy manifest greatness for humanity in a seemingly small world.

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a wife, mother of three kids, and the opinion editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Louisville Courier-Journal. She can be contacted at, followed through her YouTube channel and on Twitter: @WriterBonnie, or click here to learn more about her. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.