One of my most memorable moments from our time in England was the day we went to Bath. The lovely Emma took us there for the day to visit another one of our wonderful friends who had spent some time with us in Montreal a few years ago. After we arrived at Hannah's place we had a cup of tea, caught up on life, prayed for good stuff, and headed downtown for a yummy lunch.
Then we wandered the streets of Bath, one of the most beautiful and interesting places I have ever seen. I was snapping pictures left and right as we walked past the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, and street after street of unique architecture. Several times I almost lost the rest of the gang while I stopped to capture a particular scene or ran into a tourist centre for some information. Hannah, Emma, Eden, and Dean were all very gracious in waiting for me as I tried to take it all in during the few hours that we had in Bath.
As we leisurely walked to one of the most famous places in that city, The Circus, Dean pointed out an interesting restaurant across the street that he thought would make a great picture. I stepped to the edge of the sidewalk and was waiting for the cars to pass so that I could get the perfect picture. One car pulled up to the curb right in front of me and obstructed my view. Then I heard a voice call my name, "Mattie, Mattie!" I looked into the car and it was Rebecca, another girl who had spent some time with us in Montreal. She said, "What are you doing here?" I replied, "I thought you were in France!" She told me she was in Bath for the day to look at a flat because she was moving there in the fall, having just finished her stint working at a community in France.
She pulled away to find parking and I was jumping and screaming like a 6-year-old who just won a trip to Disneyland while I told the rest of the gang what had just happened. A few minutes later, Rebecca joined us and hugs and lots of talking went around as we made the most of the 30 minutes or so that she had to spare before her appointment. Dean and I don't know that many people from England. We had made plans to see pretty much all of them, except for Rebecca, because we didn't think she was around.
The encounter was particularly poignant to me because I had been feeling a little empty and disconnected and downcast that morning and had asked God for a gift, anything to remind me that he was near to me and still bringing his goodness into my life every day. It was a gift beyond anything I would have imagined. To bring one of the only other people we knew from England across our path as each of us was visiting a city of 85,000 during one small window of time...well, it defied logic, luck, and chance.
It reminded me that I am not alone, that God sees and cares, that he loves to bring people together and can do so even without great effort on our parts, and that he does listen and act when his children call out to him. I like God because he first liked me.
This is Rebecca and Dean standing in a slight drizzle in The Circus in Bath.