Sunday, June 17, 2007

Shockingly Small World

So PH and I went to a military retirement party for a friend who will start seminary this August with me. I don't know him really well, but he's part of my postulancy group so we've become casual friends.

In the course of the evening we talked with friends from his church, a couple who are about 10 years older than me. We were all sitting in the living room and my buddy's wife told how his British mother ended up in El Paso (WWII bride). PH asked me to tell how my parents met in France - both in the Army in WWII, both from the same home town, but had never dated there - they started dating in Alsace and married after 6 dates after they were both discharged from the Army. Some details came out in the conversation, and suddenly the woman of the older couple paled visibly and said," Where in [home town] was your house?" I replied, "It was xxx Avenue, across from Lincoln Park." She said, "I earned my Child Care badge in Girl Scouts babysitting you when you were four." We both burst into tears and hugged. It was sort of like finding one's long-lost big sister. We compared notes about some of the wacky neighbors and who was still alive and who was dead - sadly, most were dead - and it felt like fifty years had just fallen away. I told her husband, "I've known your wife longer than you have!" We all laughed uproariously. An amazing moment.

One of the other guests said that if I were a mathematician, I could calculate the odds of our meeting. I said I was a theologian, so I didn't have to do any calculation - it was all about the Spirit working in mysterious ways. For me, that's a much more satisfying explanation.

For someone like me, whose family of origin is pretty much all gone, it was bittersweet. It would have been nice to be able to call my mother and say, "You'll never guess who I met at a party last night." Somewhere, though, I think she's smiling.


Lauralew said...

What a wonderful story! The Holy Spirit works in amazing ways! Thanks for sharing.

Cathy said...

That IS a great story- wow !!!

It's similar to Mary Beth (Terrapin Station) and me as an RGBP meetup and knowing so many people in common!