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!

 

 



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