Walking into the room my heart raced. I could feel my pulse quicken and my body temperature rising. Great, I thought, I’m going to be sweaty and I’m supposed to make a good first impression. Because walking into a room full of women isn’t intimidating. At all.
My breathing slowed when I realized that the other prospective members were just as anxious as I, and it helped that the hostesses offered us wine. Another woman and I began talking and quickly attached ourselves to one another to appear busy so that we’d not have to mingle. I sensed that she was equally introverted in unfamiliar settings, so we engaged in small talk about life in my new city, her lifelong home. We had small connections and both clinged to them as if holding onto a kite sure to be swept up by any passing gust of wind. We smiled, chuckled a bit, and discussed the stay at home mom wardrobe of yoga pants and flip-flops as we sipped refreshingly from our glasses of chilled red sangria.
Heather walked over and interrupted, introducing herself to us. She’s someone we’d both get to know well over the next few months so we politely obliged the interruption of our small talk. “Katie, I’d like to introduce you to someone else who is also a transfer from Columbia, South Carolina. She transferred in January of this year. I wonder if you know her.”
I turned around, curious, as Heather pointed to a woman in an aqua blazer.
Cameron! What are the chances?
I excused myself from my small-talk partner and Heather, making a bee-line across the room as quickly as my legs would carry me without knocking over other prospective members and trying to be as mannerly as possible. I’m pretty sure my mom and Nana would have blushed and shaken their heads at my abrupt about-face across the room. Oh well, I had a friend in the room, and one I already knew!
Cameron and I spent the evening sitting next to one another as we listened to the prospective member presentation of the Junior League of Lincoln. As soon as the “business” of the evening completed, we shared stories. How in the world did you end up in Lincoln, too? we asked each other. In disbelief and excitement we heard God’s orchestration in the midst of the chaos that’s been each of our lives for the last year or so.
As I’ve settled into my new life here in Lincoln, I’ve finally sought ways to reach out beyond just the church world. While I adore my friends that God’s placed in my life through the ministry and our presbytery here, my life has to include more than just my family, my office, my writing, and fellow clergy. So, I decided it’s now or never and began the Junior League provisional membership process in Columbia with plans to transfer to Lincoln. Last night was a prospective member gathering. And, I saw a friend from Columbia in the room.
God’s been planning a chance to get a really good chuckle at me, I’m certain. And the way she’s orchestrated it all to collide worlds with someone I’ve not seen in years has fireworks still exploding in my brain. Make a plan, watch God laugh.
Earlier this summer I was to attend a prospective member meeting at another location in town, but I came down with a severe, near-migraine headache (and I don’t get migraines!) and decided not to attend that evening, requesting another party date. I chose the last date possible because it best fit my schedule, only to learn that the location was not across town like the previous one, but within walking distance of our new home. Okay! Cameron, it turns out, had planned to attend an earlier summer meeting as well but ran late at work that day and requested another party. She and I ended up in the same party.
Cameron was one of my Chi Omega advisors while I was at USC. Cameron had applied for a position in Lincoln in early 2014 but due to extenuating family circumstances withdrew her name from the application process. At the end of 2014 when she began job hunting again, the exact same position was reposted; she applied, interviewed, accepted and moved to Lincoln in January 2015. I moved to Lincoln just two weeks before her arrival, in December 2014.
We closed down the party, needless to say. After swapping hugs, business cards and cell phone numbers, we set out to our respective homes. Cameron lives about 10 minutes away from me. In Lincoln, Nebraska. From Columbia, South Carolina.
I’m sure God had a pretty good laugh at us last night. We are still both flabbergasted. We have a friend from “home” here with us and there’s nothing better than knowing that although you’re 20 hours from home, home is also just right around the corner now.
Thanks for the giggles, God. Thanks for making it all just right. I think Cameron would join me in saying that the best “God-thing” happened to us last night and made us both just breathe a bit deeper. For some strange reason, this woman I’ve not seen in more than five years dropping back into my life has lifted a weight from my shoulders. I’m starting to feel more at home in this place. This is one of those moments in everyday life when we get to glimpse the divine, and it becomes appropriate to say: To God be the Glory! Amen.
It’s not one bit strange or coincidental.
This is what happens when God makes it all just right.