Tuesday, May 19, 2009
A few weeks ago, we had Phil's former girlfriend, Heather, and her beautiful daughter over for dinner. My dear friendsister, Katie, asked, "Wasn't that really awkward for you?"
She has a point. Heather sent Phil a "Dear John" letter while Phil was on his mission. I think it was hard on Phil, but they remained friends. When I finally came into the picture, I thought it was a bit odd that they would still want to spend time together. My mom thought it even stranger. But I accepted it. After all, she was married, and I had some guy friends too, though I wasn't as close to them as Phil was to Heather.
We kept in touch with Heather off and on for a while. She was kind enough to invite me to social events, which I appreciated, even though I couldn't always attend. She was my nurse when Sweet Boy was born and was one of the first to hold him. It was comforting to have her with me in the hospital--not at all as weird as I thought it might be. She always was a little intimidating to me: tall, beautiful, and confident. (And her singing voice is gorgeous.) Still, I liked her, though our friendship was maintained more through Phil. Then she moved to Nevada and we lost track of one another.
After some life shaking events, I came to understand Phil's relationship with Heather a little better. Suddenly, so many things became clear to me. I had an all new appreciation for Heather and felt the kind of connection with her that comes through shared experiences. I wanted to reconnect, to talk to her again, but I didn't know how that would happen.
Then I got more involved in Facebook. Imagine my delight when Heather sent me a friend request! We began to chat and send messages back and forth. When we arranged a time for her to come visit us with her daughter, I was thrilled. And I wasn't disappointed: we had a wonderful evening. She took as much delight in my children as I do (or at least she pretended to). I was sad to see her go but grateful to know that we have reconnected.
At the end of April, I went to Women's Conference at BYU. I knew that one of my aunts and her daughters, some of whom I haven't seen for a very long time, would be there. I knew that the chances of running into them were pretty small, but I still whispered one of those "wishing" type prayers that I might run into them.
You can imagine my joy when I discovered them Thursday morning sitting two rows behind me in the Instant Choir rehearsal! I could hardly believe it! We embraced, we visited, we had our pictures taken together, and I figured that would be it until I saw them at a family get-together that was planned for Friday night. I hoped I'd see them again during the two-day conference, but decided one small miracle was all I would hope for. Not so! They were sitting about 5 rows down from me during the closing session on Friday! It was amazing.
Those chance miracle meetings were not the only ones I experienced at Women't Conference. There was one woman I had been thinking about several days before the conference that I haven't seen in a few years. We used to live in the same ward about 11 years ago, and the only time I ever see Shauna is at Women's Conference. But I wasn't planning to sit in the section where all my friends from that area usually sit. I sent a wishful thought heavenward that I'd see her there but didn't expect anything, until I saw her walk right past me in one of the classes I decided to attend. I got to talk to her for a few minutes and share with her some memories I have of her doing sweet things with her children. I don't know why Heavenly Father allowed me to "run into" Shauna there, whether it was for my benefit or hers, but I felt loved at that moment.
Directly after that class, while waiting for the next class to start, I decided to make a pit stop at the restroom. While waiting in the line, I saw a woman come out of one of the stalls, and I nearly passed out from shock! "Leisa?" She turned, and it was indeed Leisa, one of my dear, dear friends from high school who ended up marrying one of my cousins. I hadn't seen her in probably 15 years or so, and we run into each other in a small bathroom in the Wilkinson Center with 30 other women waiting in line? Not a coincidence.
It was also no coincidence to find out we were both going to the same class that hour. She was in need of some direction for a difficult situation that I ended up having personal experience with. I firmly believe that the Lord put us in one another's paths so that I could ease some of her pain. (At least, I hope I did. I tried to.)
Thinking back on these interactions with dear friends and family, I realize even more how much God loves each of us. We are His daughters. He knows exactly what we need, and even sometimes gives us things that we really want. Logically, I should never have run into Leisa, Shauna, or my cousins and aunt. Social norms tell me that I shouldn't be friends with my husband's former girlfriend. God knows better for me: he gave me these small miracles because he loves me and knows what I need. He has always known, even if I haven't.