Friday, January 31, 2014

friday five: pleasant surprises

Remembering an encounter that led to an unexpected friendship, Martha offers this prompt at RevGals today.

In this week some of us are preaching about a woman who encounters Jesus at the well, please name five encounters in your life leading to unexpected results. They might include learning a new skill, making a friend, falling in love, discerning a call or anything around or far off from those ideas.

1) While growing up my mother and my bonus mother were both knitters.  Eager to be just like them in this way (other ways, too), I tried to learn to knit. It didn't stick. Endless rows of knitting and purling just didn't interest me, so I gave up.  Fast forward to my junior year in college and a semester abroad in Scotland. Three of us lived with a family there whose mother was a kick-ass knitter. She could read, knit, and watch TV at the same time.  She agreed to teach us how to knit, insisting that we pick a pattern that would challenge us and hold our interest.  We chose a fisherman-knit pattern very close to the one pictured above (we were in Scotland, after all), and commenced our lessons. Not only did we finish our sweaters, but I continued to knit for many years until heading off to seminary. I've done a few projects since then, but dogs in laps and knitting don't go well together, so I have shifted to other handwork.

2, 3 & 4) Many moons ago I flew to Scotland to attend a friend's wedding as a surprise to her. Her priest had also flown over to perform the ceremony (she was an American, her husband, Scottish), and though the priest and I met briefly a few weeks before the big event, we bonded during the wedding celebration. Bonding led to dating, which led to attending his church to hear him preach, which led to a spiritual renewal (not from the preaching, although he was an excellent preacher, but as a result of a profound experience of prayer), which led to being baptized, which led to thanksgiving, which led to my call to ordination. So, I attended a wedding, fell in love, got baptized, and ended up being ordained. Pretty unexpected results!
(The picture is with the bride's daughter, with the ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral behind us. The bridal bouquet was thrust into my arms by the bride as she left the church with her new husband.)

5) Fewer moons ago, after breaking an engagement I found myself without a beloved, a job, a home, or a community (I had sold my house in anticipation of moving to another state, and had likewise resigned my position at the church I served). As I began to rebuild my life I focused some of my creative energy on scrapbooking. I turned to an online scrapbook message board as a resource for supplies and expertise, and ended up finding a diverse community of women where friendships began to form. A daily "Early Bird" thread gave rise to a subset of scrapbookers who continue to stay connected to this day (more than ten years later). I have met many of the Early Birds "in real life," traveled with a few, and when I did finally get married a few years later, some of them came to Nashville from as far away as New Brunswick, Pennsylvania and Florida.


theedgeishere said...

What an incredible journey of encounters leading to "that which you did not expect". Thanks for sharing them.

river song said...

Phenomenal stories! I love the sweater, too!

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

oh my goodness you have had incredible encounters - so pleased you've shared them and the encouragement that resonates with them!

The Bug said...

These are great stories! I've definitely met some interesting folks as a result of taking up new crafty pursuits...

Jayne said...

Very pleasant surprises indeed! We just never know where our paths might take us.

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