small world

Twice in the past two days, I’ve run into people I didn’t expect to see, in places I don’t usually see them. Yesterday afternoon, it was a woman from church who came up to me while I was browsing at the Ten Thousand Villages tent sale. I’m always a little thrown when I see church people away from church. I have to pull myself back out of my head and into people-mode, and I always take quick stock of what I’m wearing to make sure it’s appropriately minister-y. Often, the church people seem equally disoriented. In this case, instead of commenting on the sale we’d both come to, or the continuing heat wave, she mentioned the funeral service I’d led earlier in the week, and we had a little after-church-shaking-hands-in-the-narthex conversation, which felt very out of place in the middle of the hot shopping center parking lot. Then I had to run to rescue the jewelry rack from Harper’s grabby hands, and I didn’t get to talk to my church lady again, which probably was just fine with both of us.

Then just this afternoon, I was sitting in the Green Bean coffee shop, and in walked Rob, who was as surprised to see me as I was him. (Granted, his office is a half-block away and I had sort of planned to drop in on him when I’m done with my coffee, but still.) We were just as disoriented as the church lady and I had been yesterday. I was deep into Christian Century article on immigration law; and he was in the middle of a phone conversation with his boss and had to get off the phone to say hi to me.  When he did, we weren’t sure what to talk about. “Are you getting anything done?” he asked. “Sort of,” I answered.

“Um, okay.”


“So, see you later?”

“Okay. I’m going to make pizza for supper.”


And then he was gone, apparently not wanting to continue the conversation with his boss in front of his wife.

It reminded me of that time four years ago now (four years!), when we were camping with my sister and her husband at Acadia National Park. One afternoon, my sister and I set off for a hike, while our husbands tacked a trail on the other side of the park, planning to meet back up at the campsite later on. It turned out, though that we were climbing up different sides of the same mountain, and all four of us got to the top at the same time. I wouldn’t have been more surprised if I’d run into somebody from church.

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