Thursday, March 2, 2017

The World Gets Smaller and Brighter

by Kari Diane Pike

Have you ever walked by a group of people, not really paying attention because you expect them to be strangers, and your brain does that "flip through all the photo I.D. pictures stored in your memory files" because a face in the group set off your "I know that person" alarm? Then you do a double-take and trip over your own feet because you know that blast from the past now lives more than six hundred miles away. You want to shout out a greeting and grab them and give them a big, ole hug - but you're in a place where noise and exuberance is highly inappropriate and it takes every ounce of self-control to maintain decorum.

That very thing happened to me this week. I had just finished my shift volunteering in the Gilbert temple. I walked through a foyer filled with people getting ready to attend the only wedding scheduled for the day. One face stood out to me - a friend and neighbor twenty-four years ago, Becky had moved from where I met her in Flagstaff, Arizona to a home in Utah. 

I touched her arm to get her attention and whispered her name. "Becky!" 

Becky's face lit up with the smile that I remembered so well. "Kari!" She glanced at my name tag. "You're working here in the temple?"

"Yes. It's so good to see you." I waved my hand toward the missionary name tag clipped to Becky's blouse. "What are you doing here?"

Becky nodded toward the other women seated next to her. "Craig and I are serving a mission in Orem, and he's still there, but I got permission to travel down with family for my great-niece's wedding. She searched for eight years after a messy divorce and finally found the most perfect guy. We are so excited for her." 

A temple worker motioned for the wedding party to move upstairs. Becky and I exchanged hugs and parted company with a promise to connect through Facebook.

Happy memories and the joy of reconnecting with a good friend accompanied me into the parking lot. Cotton candy clouds left over from a recent storm drifted across a blue sky. Tree branches conducted a slight breeze that danced with the petticoat petaled petunias and pansies. I looked across the parking lot to find my car and headed that direction. A gentleman and three ladies stepped out from between a row of vehicles and headed my direction. Wait. I know that guy. And the blonde lady with him - that's his wife. It's the Robertson's. Wow. First Flagstaff and now Phoenix friends. What a great day. 

I quickened my step towards them. "Hey, I know you!" 

Brother Robertson grinned and waved."Well hello. How are you?" He shook my hand. 

I turned and greeted his wife and gave her a hug. "What are you guys doing down here? You live so close to the Phoenix temple."

"We're here for our son's wedding. He went through a divorce a few years ago and finally found someone who likes getting dirty and fixing cars as much as he does."

"That is amazing. And this is a second marriage for her too, after eight years of searching." 

Sister Robertson grinned at me. "Yes. And you know this because..." 

"I know some of the bride's family. I just spoke with one of her aunt's because we used to be neighbors in Flagstaff. They said that your son is the best thing that every happened to [the bride]. Plus, it's the only wedding on the schedule today." 

We shared another round of hugs and I let the Robertson's get off to the wedding. 

I couldn't wait to share with my husband how our world just got a little bit smaller. Every time I experience these connections the universe makes more sense. My belief that we are all here for a reason deepens. The light gets brighter. My love for others expands. And my testimony of the plan of salvation and faith in the Savior's Atonement grows more firm. Life is magnificent. 

hugs~









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