Rustling…….Whispering……… I awake from a deep sleep and focus on 3 dark figures in the night, but I’m not alarmed because this scenario is becoming all too frequent.
Another night that the pulled out couch in my room is being used. Now a 13 year old girl needs her beauty sleep…what gives? I settle in and continue my ever so important sleep.When I awake in the morning, there lay 2 small girls sound asleep on the pull-out couch. I ignore them, as I tip toe about getting ready for school, trying to avoid the large couch that occupies more than half the floor space.
When I arrive home after school everything is arranged neatly back in it’s place in my room, like nothing ever happened.
I eventually approached my mother one day, and asked her why the 2 girls come stay with us, and always in the middle of the night. She explained to me that the girl’s mother was very sick, and frequently wandered or disappeared at times and had to be found by the father. We lived in a very small town in Connecticut, and we were one of 3 African American families that lived in the town. The 2 girls were also African American, had very different and had very distinct names, and lived right down the street from us. My mom offered her help whenever they needed her. The girls continued to show up unexpectedly at night, and at various times we would pick them up at their house and my Mom would babysit them. Eventually the visits became less frequent. I never really saw the girls again, we moved to Boston shortly thereafter.
Our annual semi camping trip in Carlsbad California! I call it “semi” because I don’t consider myself a camper. Get me a 500ft RV with electricity, a toilet, a shower, a full kitchen, and a comfy bed…and then I’m a camper (smile).
We spend a weekend with several other African American families annually in May. This year a few new people were there. One family had just moved to California, and were eager to meet other families and settle in. That’s fairly easy to do when you have young children. As we walked in small groups down to the beach, I kept my stride with the new Mom I had just met, and struck a conversation with her. I particularly wanted to make her feel at home since most of the other families have know each other for at least a decade.
We got to talking and I asked her where she was from originally. She said Connecticut. Well of course I said “Wow, so am I, what town” When she told me the name of the town I about flipped out. I told her that I used to live there back in the 70’s. She said although her parents still live there, she hadn’t lived there since high school. As I calculated the numbers in my head very quickly, I realized that she was about my brother’s age (6 years my junior), and that we both lived in this remote, small country town at the same time, 33 years ago. We began to figure out where exactly we both had lived. As she described the name of her street, and I recalled her very distinct name, I began to realize that I only new one family that lived on that street, and I had visited them frequently. I asked her if she had a sister…. her sister’s name elegantly flowed from my lips, like it was yesterday. Her stride came to a complete stop…. her smile disappeared, and she looked at me with big, bewildered eyes and said “yes”!
I realized while looking into her eyes, that I knew exactly who she was, but that she had no idea who I was because at the time she was probably 5 years old.
The situation was a little awkward because I wasn’t sure how much she knew about her mother’s illness. I proceeded to tell her about how my mother took care of her and her sister during that time. She did remember vaguely. She got on the phone with her parents and told them the story. Her parents immediately spoke my mother’s name, and expressed deep gratitude for my mother’s help. I also called my mother, who was overwhelmed by the story.
Now I don’t think anything “just happens”. As a Christian, I truly believe that our lives are predestined. Everything happens for a reason. The Lord had his hand on these children, and on the incredible and unlikely meeting of two people, 3,000 miles from our childhood town, who crossed each others paths 33 years ago.
If you have an amazing story, please share!