Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


Small, Big World

A view from the Hubble Deep Field.

A view from the Hubble Deep Field.

It’s good to be back here at this intersection between life and God.

While we were away, my husband picked up a large coffee table book about space. (It’s no wonder that he once nursed a dream of becoming an astronomer.) Every so often he’d blurt out in amazement at the size and scope of our universe. For example, the distance between one star and another star in our Milky Way galaxy is proportional to the distance between a golf ball in New York and a golf ball in Boston. And the view from a Hubble telescope captures one-twenty-fourth-millionth of the night sky; and in that view alone, there are hundreds of galaxies visible, each of them containing billions of stars.

Meanwhile, I found myself exclaiming, “It’s a small world.” First, there was the encounter in a crowded train hub in New York at rush hour. She was standing next to me and looked the most approachable. I had asked her how long the ride would be. She was heading in a different direction but looked like she knew the city. We struck up a conversation. I told her I was heading for Shelter Island, New York.

“Oh, I have a place on Shelter Island,” she remarked.

“Really? Where?”

“90 Midway Road.”

“You’re kidding. We’re at 81 Midway.”

“We’re next-door neighbors!”

It’s a small world.

The next interaction happened on my return flight to Atlanta. I (and maybe every other passenger on the plane) first saw her hoisting her carry-on bag into the overhead compartment above her seat. She was a large, big-boned woman, rather homely, wearing a short, tight, black-and-white, polka-dotted dress. The dress was what made her unforgettable: a hole in the front revealed a few pale stomach ripples; the length in the back barely covered her buttocks. As she lifted that suitcase, her dress (whatever there was of it) inched up over her back side….You catch my drift.

At the end of the flight, those of us with carry-on bags too big to fit in the overhead compartments, were waiting for our luggage. When the woman in the scantily clad dress made her exit, the woman next to me remarked, “She has to know that her butt is showing.”

I couldn’t help but laugh, then let out my own dig: “It’d be one thing if she had a great body,” I muttered. “Even then it would be inappropriate.”

It’s possible that God wanted me to take note of my self-righteousness delivered in a moment of mean humor. Later that same day, just hours after I had arrived home and was returning from a trip to the grocery store, who do you think I saw walking down the street? There she was. The very same woman in the same ridiculous dress.

It’s a small world.

In the same universe where the sun around which our earth revolves is only one among billions of stars, we can run into the very same stranger twice on the same day in a city of more than half a million people, or discover that the stranger standing next to us on a crowded train platform in Manhattan is actually our next-door neighbor. That’s what I call a miracle.

Enjoy the miracles, and we’ll catch you tomorrow!

 

 



Previous Posts

The Rise of the "Spiritual But Not Religious"
Here at this intersection between God and life, I'm always interested in news pertaining to those who call themselves "spiritual but not religious"—hence this article from The New York Times featuring the work of three other authors who, like me, are responding to the epithet that now describes on

posted 5:53:50pm Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Are You Opposed to People Owning Guns? Via John Piper
[caption id="attachment_5235" align="alignleft" width="339"] Jim Eliot and 4 other missionaries were killed in Ecuador by Auca Indians. The missionaries had guns but chose to fire them in the air rather than at their attackers who had spears. The Aucas have since embraced Christ in great number.[/ca

posted 11:40:36am Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break— "Sea Song" and Lisa Hannigan
This week the theme of the sea put to music especially touched me as our family grieves the loss of my granddad.  My granddad was a lifelong sailor and lover of the sea, and we will scatter some of his ashes on the sea where he used to command our family's annual regatta from Shelter Island, New Yo

posted 11:16:49am Jul. 18, 2014 | read full post »

"Admiral John": A Granddaughter's Remembrances
It feels a bit like Groundhog Day: wasn't it just a couple months ago that I was sharing a granddaughter's reflections upon the death of a grandparent?  This past Saturday, my granddad John slipped away suddenly to join his late wife Peggy of 68 years who had been his companion until two months ago

posted 11:58:22am Jul. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Hostility Re: My Post on Guns in Georgia—A Lesson
Fellow saints and sinners, it's with some sadness and more fascination that I write after seeing the onslaught of fierce and even violently ad hominem attacks in response to my post from two days ago about Georgia's new gun rights legislation.  From here on out, these sorts of responses won't be to

posted 10:36:22am Jul. 14, 2014 | read full post »




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