Hunter Lily turns six today. We call her our Illini Baby, because she was the only one of our four who wasn’t born here in St. Louis. For a short period of time we lived in Rantoul, Illinois, just outside Champaign, where Matt worked as a worship pastor at a church there.
Even though that was six years ago, that time in our life was a gift. Matt met one of his best friends there, and I met some the dearest, kindest people, and not to get all sappy, but a group of people who changed me forever in so many ways. Hunter is our gift from that season of our life, and she will always remind us of one of the most beautiful places (and people) on earth, even if we didn’t know it at the time.
Also, today I walked through the doors of the company, here in St. Louis, started by the son and daughter-in-law of the pastor from Rantoul. The second I walked through the door, my heart exploded with delight. As I hugged their necks, I felt like I was hugging old friends, not acquaintances that I briefly met six years ago while our little girls jumped on a trampoline together. I stood in their space listening to their dream, and I told them my dream. We shared that moment together as our two worlds collided once again.
I left with a hug and a “I’ll talk to you soon”. As I drove away, I couldn’t help but smile, because I have no idea what our future will look like working together, but as I played the last six years of my life in my head, I knew that meeting was no accident.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our day to day life watching people come and go with seemingly no connection to us other than a brief smile exchange. Sometimes others pause in our life, but no deep rooted connections seem to develop, and we let them go with the thought that they will never enter our life again, but the more I live a whole-hearted life, the more I find this not to be the case.
Our lives are much like the Redwoods of California. On the surface they stand tall and separate, but under the surface their roots are intertwined and connected, making them live together as one unit. We, as humans, on the surface seem separate from those around us, but if we take a look deep down, we are connected with everyone we meet. We are intertwined, never to be separated from one another. To hurt or damage one will hurt and damage many others around. To love and encourage one will love and encourage many around him or her.
Our journey is a journey of weaving, in and out, binding us together, and we never know when the loom will bring those people back around to us again. So, we must always honor those we meet, not only because they may play a significant role in our story, but also, because by honoring them we honor ourselves and the One who loves us all.
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