I was walking back to my office after a meeting this week when I saw a pretty lady in the hallway in The Sheid. She entered the office suite where I work about the same time I did and I asked her if I could help her with anything. “Yes,” she said. She had two tickets in her hand to an upcoming show, The Hit Men, and wanted to buy one more. I took the two tickets she had to see what seats she was in and as I read her name, my eyes filled with tears and I realized I knew her. I hadn’t seen her in 30 years, but she had been someone very special to me in my youth.
You see, in 1974, my grandmother took me on the vacation of a lifetime. She and I joined one of her closest traveling friends and set out for the Holy Land. The friend happened to bring her college-age daughter along on the trip and, to me, she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Her long blonde hair, precious squeaky voice and collegiate clothes mesmerized me. To my delight, people on the trip thought we were sisters – I had long blonde hair back then, too.
After the adventure of a lifetime cruising the Mediterranean Sea together, we saw each other again a few times. Disappointingly, as life would have it, moves, jobs, and other stuff got in the way and we tried to keep in touch, but it wasn’t easy. She was a well-respected pediatric therapist and I was trying to finish college and get a job. We didn’t have social media back then, so we had to rely on letters and phone calls and, eventually, we just lost touch.
I thought about her a thousand times and wondered what had happened to that sweet girl who treated me like a sister on that cruise. This week, there she was! Standing right front of me with two tickets to a show in Mountain Home, Arkansas, in the building where I worked. I mean, honestly! What are the odds? “Are you THE Diana Chiles from Jackson, Mississippi?” I asked her. She looked stunned, but nodded. Then, I explained who I was.
How the two of us got from Jackson, Mississippi, to Mountain Home is a miracle in itself; but the fact that I met her again the way I did, well….there just isn’t anything to call it BUT a miracle. If my meeting had been 5 minutes longer, someone else would have helped her and I wouldn’t have known she lived here. If I hadn’t paid attention to that name, I would have breezed right past her and never realized we had such a connection.
God is one amazing choreographer. He had the movements of both of our days all set in motion long before we laid eyes on each other. He knew we would meet that day.
We had a big huge hug and laughed about it all. But, I got home and hit my knees in prayer of thanksgiving for God’s incredible hand in this. I have wished for years that I could talk to my grandmother to ask her questions and learn more about our trip through the Holy Lands. I was too young to take notes or remember many of the special things we saw and did and today, I have so many questions about that part of the world.
Diana Chiles surprised me today and brought me three scrapbooks. In them were pages of notes and photographs that I have never seen of her, of my grandmother, and of myself at age 12. There was a photo of Jesus’ empty tomb; of Golgotha; of the Upper Room; of the Garden of Gethsemane; and of the Dead Sea. All the places we saw together and all my questions answered.
It will take me a while to process all of this, but for today, I am so grateful for this miracle. It’s been many years, and there have been many miles between us, but today my friend gave me an unbelievable gift….one of blessed memories.