As my sister and I waited for the Jennifer Lopez concert to begin, we chatted with our neighbors, a forty-something daughter with her sixty-something mom. They were such fun. They were excited for the night out together. They shared a little about their lives. The daughter works as a high-demand restaurant hostess and let us know how to contact her if we ever wanted prime seats when we’re in town.
But as much joy and enthusiasm as these two women had, they had also experienced pain. Somehow, we ended up hearing a lot of details about their stories. Probably because my sister is a lot like my dad: no one is a stranger, and it’s easy to talk and dig into life with others.
The mom married young and moved across the country with her husband. They had two girls. When the girls were young, he left because he wanted a different life, a chance to be happy. He wanted to escape the responsibility, routine, and dependability of his marriage. (Yes, I drew many similarities between her story and mine, including many of the feelings she shared and struggles her family went through.) She remarried years later. (And the story of how she felt as she connected to another man was honest and hilarious and not exactly what I would consider appropriate for sharing with strangers, but I still enjoyed it and laughed hysterically!) Her other daughter was killed in a horrible accident. Her ex-husband killed himself. Seriously, their lives in a nutshell had a lot of highs and lows.
And there they were, waiting for JLo with us.
God knew what he was doing when he sat us together. I was healing. I had crossed the country for a fun getaway. And here was someone speaking into my life and encouraging me to continue no matter what, even though she had no idea what I’d been through the past couple years.
And I didn’t share. It wasn’t necessary.
But I soaked in what God gifted me and sat back and enjoyed the show.
And I smiled.
God provides neighbors at home and far away.