Sometimes the world seems overwhelmingly large…and yet sometimes it seems so small.
I go grocery shopping at the same store every Saturday night. I run into someone I know every single week. It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility because we all live in the neighborhood around the store, I now expect to see people. But then there’s the moments that are one in a million chances of running into someone and you just know you were meant to be in the same place at the same time in this “small world” we live in. Steve had one of those moments.
We were making preparation for our North Carolina weekend in which we needed Steve to fly from Virginia to North Carolina straight from a work trip. We went back and forth as to how Steve should get there; we looked into a number of options including driving and after looking at several flights on two different days we settled on a late night flight Thursday night. It wasn’t a direct flight and he ended up with a layover in Charlotte. He was walking the terminal looking at his phone when he nearly bumped into another man. He looked up and realized he knew him and his wife; good friends from our days in Milwaukee. We shared many years in our young married stage as we both started raising our families and spent every Friday night with one another’s kids as we shared a babysitting co-op.
Steve was in shock. What were the chances that they were both flying the same night, with layovers in the same airport and their plane was delayed which allowed them to run into each other. It was a “small world” experience that Steve said was nothing short of a tender mercy. This couple is amazing and both Steve and I have commented over the years just how special their role in our lives was. They were people to look up to and to strive to be like and we were fortunate to cross paths. The older I get the more I realize just how many paths we cross (rarely do our paths go along side each other) and each path brings us new friends, experiences and learning opportunities and none of them are by chance.
Steve was able to sit down to dinner with them for an hour and talk. Catch up. Laugh. Listen. And then two planes were traveling in two different directions and they said goodbye. Steve walked away overcome with gratitude for his small world experience and for friends who influenced his life.
When I met him at the airport late that night he pulled out his phone and said, “You will never guess who I ran into…” and showed me this picture:
I was beyond happy that he was able to see them – a little jealous I wasn’t sitting at that dinner table with them – but happy none the less. It was a gentle reminder of the power good relationships have on us. So grateful for those relationships.