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Chance meetings

28 December, 2002 9:16 PM

Last week we celebrated V's birthday by going out for dinner to a local cafe. Our waitress was obviously from the US and it was obviously her first night on the job. Despite her best efforts the service from other staff was poor - she was obviously having 'one of those nights'. I felt sorry for her - but obviously not that sorry because she did not enter my mind from the moment we left the cafe until the next night when we saw her trying to borrow a video at the local video shop. Again she seemed to be having 'one of those days'. They wouldn't give her a card because she couldn't prove where she lived. Once again I 'felt sorry' for her - but obviously not that sorry because we walked right on by her in the shop - although she obviously could have done with some support or a friend.

Shortly after I got the guilts - we should have stopped, said hi, asked if we could help. She was obviously new to our area, our country and was probably in need of a friend. Had God perhaps put her in my path twice in 24 hours for a reason? Had I missed an opportunity to show another person compassion? I couldn't get her face out of my mind the next day as I went Christmas shopping the next morning with V. I prayed that if God wanted us to meet her that he'd have to give us another chance. I promptly forgot about her again.

Well of course as we jumped on a tram to come home after shopping there she was, sitting right in front of us. V and I almost laughed as we looked at each other. We promptly introduced ourselves and found that she (Mel) lived at the end of our street, that she was indeed a lonely traveller and was appreciative of someone to talk to. We invited her home for a drink - nothing profound happened - but we promised to keep in touch.

Maybe God didn't trust us to give her a call - because yesterday on the tram home from watching the cricket - there was the smiling face of Mel again. Four chance meetings in a city of over 3 million people in 5 days! Last night she came for drinks and ended up stayed for dinner. Again the conversation was not 'profound', but it deepened. I don't know why we keep bumping into her, we may never - but for me its been a lesson in looking for what God is doing in the ordinary interactions and places of life. In the cafes and video shops and on the trams - places where its so easy to be self absorbed - yet places where God often nudges us and provides opportunities to connect with his other children. Its also been a lesson in the patience and grace of God - even slow coaches like me get included in his plans

I wonder where we'll meet Mel tomorrow!?

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