by Kari Diane Pike
I love small world stories. You know the ones where you find out that the lady in front of you at the grocery store knows your husband's father's cousin twice removed? That one is rather far-fetched, but seriously, the older I get, the smaller the world seems to become. My children groan every time I come home with yet another link to connect our family with all the rest of our Heavenly Father's children. One daughter actually tugs my arm in an attempt to haul me off and dissuade me from striking up conversations with strangers we meet, knowing that a connection will be found and the conversation will go on far longer than she would like.
I took that daughter and a niece to the Young Women's General Broadcast a couple of weeks ago. If you are fortunate enough to get tickets, you have to be there at least thirty minutes early to ensure you get a seat. The ushers scoot you all the way to the end of the row, to make sure that all the seats get filled. Since my daughter and niece were having a conversation with each other, I turned to the woman sitting next to me, introduced myself, and asked where she was from. In less than five minutes, we found our link. Her husband's family comes from Flagstaff, Arizona and I was well acquainted with his aunt and uncle. Dear daughter claimed it was a new record.
This past weekend Dear Hubby and I made a quick flight to Phoenix to take care of some business and get some grandbaby hugs. For some reason, his ticket allowed him to board with the first group and I was nearly the last one on the plane. When I got to our seats, Hubby introduced me to our other seat mate, Mike, a soon-to-be BYU graduate on his way across the country to check out a PhD program. He reminded me of someone, but I could not figure out who. We shared thoughts and ideas on education and the different paths our family members have taken. Mike had mentioned a number of siblings and we finally learned he is number 4 out of 11, several of whom are pursuing advanced degrees in medicine, law, etc. Hubby asked what it is this young man's father does for a living so that they can afford to obtain those degrees. The very second Mike told us that his father is a cardiologist, I knew who he reminded me of and I had flashbacks of dating my Hubby and the time we spent hanging out with Mike's dad and uncle -- two of Hubby's college roommates. Evidently Hubby had the same revelation and we simultaneously declared, "You're a Mulhstein!"
Mike sat back, his eyes wide open, and laughed. "I love this game! How do you know me? How do you know my family?" We told Mike our story and how we knew his family. We had seen an article published by a national magazine several years ago featuring Mike's dad. That's how we knew a bit about his career and family. Mike patiently brought us up to date on how they are doing now.
I don't know why or how we ended up on that plane in those seats next to Mike. There were at least two other full flights with other airlines leaving at the same time for Phoenix. A business associate made our reservations for us. Serendipity...stretched to the max? We loved connecting with Mike and feel like we have a new friend. We hope to be able to reconnect with his dad and uncle. Every small world experience reinforces our eternal connections as children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. He created each individual for a specific purpose and as we unite together in doing the best we can to fulfill that measure of creation, we build something far greater than ourselves. Unity.
I'd love to hear some of your small world connections. Sometimes they are much stranger than fiction. Do you think these type of experiences are too cliche to write about?