Have they ever happened to you? I had one of my own last night.
My husband and went to see Les Miserables at the Arvada Center for the Performing Arts last night. It was an impluse purchase...$45 tickets on a weeknight. We took along 13 year-old budding actress, Joan, and her friend, M. (They paid for their own tickets...I figured teenage girls who would pay that kind of money to see a show deserved to go...)
Shortly after arrival, as we were standing in the lobby, me sipping Merlot from a plastic cup, dh sipping Coors from his, I spotted a face in the crowd that struck me as a face from my long-ago childhood. I was not going to let this moment pass. Having let moments like these pass before, I've learned in my mature years to capture the moment. So I purposely left my husband and strode up to the man (whose face I noticed) and his wife.
I asked them if they were Mr. and Mrs. C...they said "yes," and I introduced myself with my maiden name. They remembered me! Their daughter had been my best friend from 1st grade through 4th grade. In 5th grade we moved from Denver to Del Norte, a small town in a remote part of Colorado. Their daughter and I had kept in touch, sporadically. I think I last saw her when I was in high school and the two of us attended Girls' State at the same time.
I had many lovely childhood memories of being at their home. They were the only Catholic family that I knew. Their home was different from mine. First of all, there were twice the number of children...four! Second, the walls had religious pictures on them. I distinctly remember one in the kitchen of a peasant praying before eating his meal. And I remember seeing pictures of their girls in white communion dresses and wondering what that was all about.
Their home was always open and was always a place of love and joy.
I still can't believe I recognized them after 35 years...or that they remembered me! Perhaps my memory isn't as bad as I thought it was...
While I'm on the subject, I have to tell about a couple other God moments I've had.
One was about two years ago, when I was working in the nursery of my kids' school. In walked a tall blonde women who introduced herself as D... She and I chatted for a few minutes about Guatemala, as she noticed my two boys were Guatemalan. She told me she had lived there for over 7 years, working as a nurse in a mobile medical unit. Her husband was the business side of it, she said. They had just moved to Colorado and were homeschooling and using the same option school we were using.
I said goodbye and began driving home. But it suddenly hit me and I turned around, parked and went back into the nursery.
I asked her what her last name was and she told me. I told her that I had met her husband when we were in Guatemala to visit our boys before we adopted them. We had brought with us two suitcases full of shoes and medicines for their medical mission. I had totally forgotten about it when I first met her!
A month or so later, I was on retreat at the Abbey of St. Walburga, for a knitting retreat. It was my first retreat at the new abbey location (they had been located in Boulder before moving to northern Colorado). The retreat leader introduced herself on Friday evening and thus we began our knitting retreat. Her name didn't seem familiar to me at the time. It wasn't until later the next day, when she was talking about being raised in a small town in Colorado, but also moving to Africa, where her dad was a missionary doctor, that I had a clue. I asked her the name of the small town in Colorado. She said "Del Norte," and I realized who she was! Her mother was my Girl Scout leader and I remembered going to her house sometimes for meetings. Her dad had been a doctor in our small town, but had gone back to Africa with his family. The funny thing was that she was not Catholic, (nor was I when I lived in Del Norte). And she had never led a retreat before. Yet, here she was, at a Catholic Benedictine monastery, leading a retreat. And here I was, someone who knew her from her childhood.
Those are God moments to me. I think God gives us these glimpses into the mystical body of Christ...or maybe they're just glimpses into our humanity and how we're linked to one another. I am constantly amazed when this happens.
I'm thinking of more God moments as I write...but they'll have to wait until next time...