Not every day is the same in life, even if we do the same things we always do – and that’s something that makes life really cool.
The main thing that makes life really cool, for me, at least, is people. People I know, people I’ve never met, people I observe… just people.
Even cooler than that – God uses people to teach us things and tell us things, and I so love that about Him.
Today, after I finished up some work, I headed to a local coffee shop to meet up with a friend who reached out.
I met Chloe last summer when I worked as a news reporter and she interned at the Space and Rocket Center. She moved to Boston for a job and we kept up via Facebook likes and Instagram comments. I watched her life on a screen and she watched mine.
I was actually kind of shocked when she said she’d be in town and asked me to get coffee – shocked but very honored that she’d choose to spend some of her time with me.
She got me a coffee and we started chatting. We talked for about an hour about jobs, relationships, God, and life in general. Toward the end of conversation, she mentioned that she was looking for a strong church in Boston and that’s what she wanted to ask me about it. It was so refreshing to know that she had reached out seeking godly advice, not because it made me feel good, but because that’s what we do – God leads us to His Word and He leads us to His people when we need advice.
There are times when we are the seeker and times when we are the giver, and it all comes full circle.
She gleaned some things from me, and I gleaned some things from her.
While we were talking about our struggles, we both found common ground on comparison and covetousness, whether it’s clothes, jobs, weddings, shoes, trips.. Whatever. I mentioned that I was working on writing some stuff about collaboration over competition and just doing this thing together instead of racing, and what she said really hit me:
“I know it’s not a race or a contest, but sometimes I still feel like I’m losing.”
I still feel like I’m losing.
Even though we know, and we can say out loud, that life is not a race, we can still feel like we are losing when we aren’t in the same season as someone else. We feel like our Chapter 1 should be just like someone else’s Chapter 3, but none of us are living the same book from the same shelf.
When we feel like we are losing, we have to remember we are already winning because we are on the winning side.
Today, I didn’t feel like I was losing because by admitting our weaknesses to each other, Chloe and I made each other stronger and took another step toward togetherness instead of tearing down.
I told you before, sometimes you’re the seeker and sometimes you’re the giver and sometimes you don’t know which one you will be or when you will be it.
Moments after Chloe left and I continued to work, the woman at the table next to me helped me reach the outlet for my computer charger, which led to a long conversation and a new friendship in which I went from “giver” to “seeker” and got advice that I didn’t even know I needed from a perfect stranger.
Nicole had left Detroit and was on what she called a “nomadic journey” that began at a Ukranian church in Saskatchewan, Canada and led her to visit old friends in Huntsville, Alabama. During her last full day in the Rocket City, Nicole was encouraged to visit the very coffee shop I would visit that day.
I think I told her my life story (naturally) and she shared parts of hers. I told her that I was currently writing about “being a fiancé” and the lessons and emotions that come along with it. When I revealed my book title to her, a huge smile spread across her face as she laughed and said, “I love that because I’ve never been married and I’d still read it and because I used to design wedding dresses.”
I told her the entire story I like to call “The Tale of Two Wedding Dresses,” and showed her the dress I’d wear on my big day. She then told me about how she went from being an engineer of dresses to an engineer of more technologically advanced products – but she assured me that both were equally intricate and important.
Her words about dreams I had for books and website were answered prayers – I have asked God for clarity and He used her to deliver that clarity.
We became fast friends, exchanged contact information, and she went on her way to her next adventure: Asheville, North Carolina, but not without my recommendation to eat at Biscuit Head and get the fried chicken gravy.
Some of her best advice was to make sure I get a Mexican latte from Satellite Coffee in Albuquerque, New Mexico if I ever visit – which I absolutely have to now.
As she talked about her travels, I was immediately envious that she had seen so much of the world that I desired to see, but, for once, the envy went away as quickly as it came and I realized that I was on my own adventure right where I was, in my own season and my own chapter. Maybe my travels would be writing and marriage and family and faith and people while hers would be exploring the world and herself – but both of us would continue to connect like we had with others that we meet along our journeys, and that’s really what it’s all about.
I had a day packed full of inspiration, wisdom, and fellowship in one room, right in the middle of the city I lived in with people on different paths than me, and we all learned from each other and alongside each other without the slightest glimpse of comparison.
We’ll all get there. We’ll all get there together.