So…remember how I moved to a sleepy little beach town last summer? I made some new friends at church, one of whom has a son about your age. He’s on a mission right now so I have never met him, but I simply adore her and her other kids. Her daughters are the most gorgeous creatures I have ever laid eyes on. E.V.E.R. And totally awesome, too – like the whole package. One of them is the same age as Captain Knuckle and I secretly hope they will date and get married someday, but back to the matter at hand. We spent Easter Sunday at their home, and I have taught a couple of classes for her at a region-wide Single Adult Conference. I totally respect this woman, her tenacity, and her complete openness about her life.
For the last 10 months, I have been hearing all about her son and the work he is doing on his mission far, far, far from this sleepy little beach town in the Florida panhandle. He is serving a mission in one of the most populous countries on earth, in one of the largest cities on the planet right now. Typically, the government of this country doesn’t allow foreign missionaries, but because “AB”‘s father is from this large and vast country, they issued “AB” a visa, which allows him to be a proselytizing missionary (his mama is as whitey, like me). Generally, missionaries from North America are not allowed to proselytize in this mission – they have to take a passive, more humanitarian-based role. But not “AB” since he is 1/2 of this ethnicity. He’s out there lighting up the world with his efforts to spread the good word.
It’s possible he’s there in that picture, somewhere mixed up with the other missionaries. I don’t know exactly which one, though. (Side note: I just love missionaries, even more now than I did years ago. The older I get, the more I appreciate their willingness to give up two years of their lives to serve others. Totally awesome, if you ask me!)
At any rate, as I have gotten to know his mom better over the months, I told her about you. We’ve had some marathon chats about what it is like from my perspective and how losing you to adoption has affected me. She is now a single mom (been divorced for three years) and so she gets it, in some small way. She gets the subtle undercurrents in the culture about how single mothers aren’t good enough and are substandard parents because she has been living it for the past few years. She gets some of the adoptee issues, too, as her cousins are adopted and she has seen first-hand how things aren’t always sunshine and roses, even if the adoptive parents are incredible people. She gets that sometimes adoption isn’t the miracle and blessing it is made out to be for adoptees or their natural families. It’s been nice to have an ally, or at least an understanding ear.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well….know how you just left on a humanitarian trip to one of the most populous countries on earth? Know how the group you are with is sponsored and run by a couple of BYU professors, which means you guys all go to church every Sunday? Know how there aren’t there aren’t many wards there in that city teaming 6.8 million people and roughly the size of Chicago and Bangkok? Well, “AB” just got transferred to that city and will be there on Wednesday. On Sunday, he will be attending church…at the very same building you attend. He will be sitting the same meetings with you.
But wait, it gets better. MUCH better. “AB” gets off his mission about three weeks before you are scheduled to return home. His mom, dad, and siblings are all flying over there to pick him up and visit their extended family (who live in that same city) for a month or so. They will all be attending the same Sunday services as you….which means my friend will recognize you instantly because she knows you look just.like.me. She texted me at 4:00 a.m. with the news of “AB”‘s transfer this morning, just as stunned as I am at the development of our children being in the same small building in this massive country. I mean, what are the odds?
Now I am a smart girl, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around the statistical probability of you going to a country on the opposite side of the planet with 1.2 billion other people and my friend’s son being a missionary in the same country. In the same city. And how is it you end up in the same church building with each other? Then add on top of that, my friend is going to be there in just a few months, too, going to the same church meetings with you, sitting in Relief Society with you. I c.a.n.n.o.t. comprehend it.
It all feels….well, arranged for lack of a better word. Like there is a Divine Hand involved with all of this, like there are no accidents in the universe. Like this was planned…but I know it wasn’t planned by humans. I couldn’t plan to move here to, to meet a friend who is so sympathetic, and who has a son on a mission in the exact place you currently live. No human could plan for all of those connections and “coincidences.” This isn’t the first such connection, but perhaps the most profound (well, that one where my last Bishop was besties with your brother-in-law, that was pretty profound). But nothing tops this because it is so random and so….I don’t know what to call it.