For Alie on her high school graduation

For Alie on her high school graduation.jpg

Last night I went to a high school graduation party for a lovely young woman who had been in a Wednesday night children’s program at the small church we both used to attend. I was the “leader” for that group of girls, fourth grade or so to sixth. I loved those girls. While she was still in my group, the church imploded. The grief was great and sent us in many directions. If I could do it over I would have stayed in better touch. Last night, there she was, nearly grown up.

Deep in the archives of this blog, there is a post I wrote at that time about helping the girls make a journal of their own by covering an old-fashioned composition book with their choice of scrapbook paper and decorating it with ribbons, stickers, beads, or whatever they liked. I thought of this last night when I saw her.

This morning, a coincidence struck me. Last month I had discovered a stack of unused composition books that were left over from that time, and so I covered one with decorative paper and have been using it since as a writing notebook. In fact, the coincidence came to me after I wrote the above two paragraphs in that very notebook.

I like to think that coincidences are signs of something big moving under the surface, some unifying cords of meaning that we are to attend to, follow, ponder, grab hold of. I like to think that our time together in that group, even as we cut paper and glued ribbons, even though the separation that followed was too long and wide and a matter of regret, planted seeds of attentiveness and faith. I’m going to pray that the lovely high school graduate never stops paying attention to her life, never stops cultivating it with great care, never stops inviting God to help her write her future.

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