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The last time I saw my friend she was nine

Meredith

The last time I saw Meredith she was living in Tokyo. She was nine. The year was 1990. I left Japan in August and flew to The United States to get married. Meredith wrote me letters and I wrote back.

Meredith modeled in Tokyo, and I was a fashion photographer. I met her and her parents, Martin and Marilyn, at Tokyo Baptist Church and became friends. I took photographs of Meredith and her sister Maggie for their modeling portfolios.

Meredith had brown hair and freckles. Lots of freckles.

Martin and Marilyn eventually moved back to the Ohio from Japan. We  exchanged Christmas Cards infrequently. I stopped writing to Meredith. She grows up, goes  to college, gets married, has children. I get married, have children, move six times, and have no contact with Meredith.

Years pass.

Two years ago I sent Martin and Marilyn a Christmas card from Pennsylvania. Meredith sees the card when she is home visiting.
“Mom, she lives an hour away from me in Pennsylvania.”

You can go through life and make new friends every year – every month practically – but there was never any substitute for those friendships of childhood that survive into adult years. Those are the ones in which we are bound to one another with hoops of steel.
― Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

On December 21, 2013, I went to a Christmas party at a friend’s house. I walked through the entry way into the kitchen and hugged the hostess. As I walked through the kitchen a woman stared at me. A woman with freckles. That’s odd. She’s staring at me.

In the dining room I could hear my name. “Pamela Hodges, mumble, mumble, mumble. Pamela Hodges, mumble mumble, mumble.”

The hostess called me into the kitchen, “Pamela do you know this woman?”

I stared at the face full of freckles. Who is this? 

And in the middle of the tall, five foot, ten, inch woman was a nine-year old girl with freckles.

“Meredith?”

It was Meredith. The same Meredith I had photographed in Tokyo. The same Meredith I gave a bear claw to before I left Japan.

After I had walked through the kitchen and was standing in the dining room eating cheese and salami, Meredith asked the hostess, “Is that Pamela Hodges?”

“Yes. Why do you ask? How do you know her?”

“From Tokyo.”

How did we end up at the same house? 

I wonder if one day I can sit down and have a cup of coffee in heaven with God, I will ask him, “Excuse me God.”

“Yes, Pamela.” ( God wouldn’t call me Pam.)

“God, how did I end up meeting Meredith on December 21st, 2013?”

“You were invited to the same party. Her husband works for your friends husband.”

“But, God how did you do it?”

Then God will show me a video of angels flying around over my head and Meredith’s head, as they guided us to the same house. God will also show me the video of when the semi truck almost rear ended me at the intersection of Highway One and County Line Road. And he will show me the video of how I met my husband at the Atsugi Officer’s Club on January 26, 1990, in Atsugi Japan.

I wonder if there will be popcorn when we watch the movies of how the angels protected us and brought friends and husbands into our lives?

How does a big God make a big world seem so small? And how do two friends from 1990 who moved to different parts of The United States  end up at the same house last Saturday? And how do two friends who were nine and thirty the last time they saw each other both have children in 2012. Meredith was 21 and I was 43.

God is a big God and he cares about little things.

Last night Meredith invited me to her home for supper. Her parents were visiting from their home in Florida. They moved there four months ago from Ohio. She didn’t tell her parents I was coming with my youngest daughter for dinner.

Marilyn, Meredith’s mother answered the door.

She said “What are you doing here? I didn’t know you were coming.”

And Martin the dad said, “You look familiar. I think I should know you… Is it Pamela?

“Yes, it is.”

And when God and I are having coffee. I will be drinking a latte, I will thank him for the gift of friends he gave me this Christmas.

Martin, Pamela, Marilyn, Meredith and Maggie.

Martin, Pamela, Marilyn, Meredith and Maggie.

Have you ever met someone at random you had not seen in years? Please tell me your story in the comments. I would love to hear of your adventures.

 

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Hey Kathleen,
    One day I will just drive to your house and walk around your neighborhood so I can accidentally meet you walking Tink, and then we can be so surprised.
    And how nice you live somewhere for so long that you can run into friends in odd places.
    I am in no hurry to eat popcorn with God, but one day when we are both there, lets watch some movies together, and God can show us how He had us meet. Now that would be fun. Do you think we will be able to do pull-ups in heaven? Do angels exercise?

  • Janelle

    I love this so much, Pamela. Who cares what your basement is like when God gives you experiences like this!

    • Hello Janelle,
      You are right, why worry about a messy basement when God is giving me back a friend.
      And God gave me a new friend in Saskatchewan. I just have never met her in person yet.

  • Betty Draper

    I love this story of God working behind the years knowing all along His plan would work to bring you two back together again. And yes I have had a similar thing happen to me when I was at the nursing home my mother is in. A man sitting across from me visiting his Mom looked so familiar …yeah we went to school together. It was such fun catching up on the each others lives. His wife was so nice…I felt God loving on me through this encounter. Blessings

    • Hello Betty,
      Thank you for telling me your story. How nice to see a classmate while you were visiting your mother at the nursing home.
      God really cares about the little details of our live.
      Blessings to you to Betty. Thank you.

  • I love this story Pamela. It’s amazing how God coordinates these things in our lives. His providence is always clearly seen when we look back over the years.

    • Hello Caleb,
      Yes God is amazing. Sometimes I can’t see is providence until I look backwards.
      I went to your blog and see that you live in the Ukraine with your family. My grandparents both were born in the Ukraine and came to Canada in the early 1900’s. Somewhere over there I have cousins. My father was born in Canada and he didn’t want us to speak Ukrainian. He regretted it when he was older.
      I am praying for your ministry.
      All the best,
      Pamela (the only words I know in Ukrainian are belly button and thank you.)

      • Pamela, my great grandparents also came from Ukraine. Where we live in Odessa is about 130 miles from where my great grandparents lived. I’ve visited their hometown twice.

        I think you would really enjoy visiting Ukraine and seeing where your family came from.

  • Robn Patrick

    That is so cool! Not only is it extraordinary, you just know God has a reason for making it happen. Not to mention it’s just plain fun!

    • Hello Robin,
      Isn’t God cool? I wonder what God is up to? We both like to do woodworking. She has power tools in her garage. We have a plan to make Andirondack chairs this summer from a pattern of her grandfathers.

  • Elsie

    I love it when the stars align and connections are made. This was a special moment for you and Meredith.

    • Hello Elsie,
      Yes, a special moment. And so weird as the same time.

  • La McCoy

    Wow!

  • Loved the reunion God gave you. About a month ago or so I got a message on my Facebook. It was from Erin. Erin Moorehead who used to live three houses down from me in Chicago. We connected and a week or so later spoke on the phone for a long time beginning each sentence with, “Remember..”

    It was wonderful to talk with the friend I had when I was about 8. The friend who moved away. It’s like connecting with a part of yourself.

    Loved your post. I will be having one of those conversations with God as well. But maybe we’ll be drinking hot chocolate. I think God will say he’s having whatever we’re having.

    • Oh Pamela, could you post a picture of you at nine?

      • Anne, I will look in the basement and see if I can find a picture of myself at nine. Do you have one of your self at nine? Please post it here. 🙂

        • Here you go. I think I’m 8 or 9. Peggy was two years younger.

    • Good Morning Anne,
      How fun to find your friend Erin! What a treat to be reconnected!
      Yes, God does seem to be the kind of God that would have whatever we are having.
      Hugs to you Anne.