For the first time in my life I am attending a Conference where I know no one. I, the extreme introvert am in a city I don’t know, with no one to help me navigate it. While parts of the conference have been interesting, –(shamrock crisps from Ireland with real essence of Shamrock in them); inspiring, (hearing Colin Powell talk about how he went from a lackluster student at George Washington University to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then Secretary of State, and how he transitioned out of those jobs when they quickly ended); to unexpected ( a lesson on Bourbon tasting and my first ever but not my last taste of bourbon).
I have learned quite a bit about the new work I will be doing with the Company that has taken me on and accepted me as a member of their team and part of their family. I can’t wait to share what I have learned with them when I get back and to apply it to my work for them. But for all of that, there is a loneliness to being here that I can’t shake. I still have yet to actually meet anyone in a “Hi, my name is Maggie, blah blah blah.” Kind of way.
I was despairing of that tonight when I was walking back from eating dinner on my own at a local restaurant. I was standing at a crosswalk. Just before The light changed I decided not to cross the street but rather to continue down the sidewalk instead. In the process, I bumped into a woman who was out getting her nightly exercise. (I am withholding her name because I failed to ask her permission to use identifying information in this post).
We apologized to each other for the jostling, and since we were headed in the same direction, struck up a conversation about the weather, and walking vs running for exercise. She assumed I was from Lexington, but I told her I was just visiting. I then asked her for directions to the local branch of my bank where I was headed to deposit a check. I thought I was heading in the right direction but wanted to be sure.
Since she was out for exercise anyway she volunteered to walk with me. In the space of the nine or ten blocks we had a deeply spiritual conversation. We, both of us, filled a need for the other. God had ordered our steps so very carefully to place us on the exact corner at the exact moment so that we would meet, because we each had a spiritual need to be filled.
For that nice bit of time, I didn’t feel so all alone in this city where I know no one at all, and she got some spiritual insight into a situation she had been dealing with that she hadn’t been able to talk with anyone about. I am often amazed, but never surprised at how God’s plans for us all fit together so perfectly.
I may never see her again in the time I am here, or I may see her tomorrow night when I eat dinner at the restaurant where she works, but either way, I will never forget her.
God is good, all the time.