Hello Compadres! So it's been a while since I've posted on here, and I wish I could do a video, but circumstances prevent such a luxury. I've been super busy and I'm now into my second trimester of college (not pregnancy, as so many have astutely joked). This time I had ALL AUDIO SUBJECTS!! This means no silly lectures that have utterly no relevance to me at all.
Anyways, onwards and forwards to the reason I have suddenly decided to post again. I am currently dating a girl that I met only about 10 months ago, it's going fantastically and I thank God for the blessing that she is on my life. The fun thing about dating someone you haven't known forever is that you get to spend a lot of time learning about each other's past, and the vast majority of this is compacted into the first few months of the relationship, usually in the form of long car drives and sunny days, lazing around on beaches and parks sharing stories.
I've done this with friends before, but with this girl, it was scary. Why was it scary, I hear you ask? Because of the sheer amount of connections we have to each other, or that we have had to each other and not known it. I often say to Lina (my girlfriend) that I could have walked past her on the street or at the mall and never known it.
I guess the story starts with Lina's Grandfather, an incredible man that I had the great pleasure to meet but once before he passed away. He was a minister, a well renowned one in the Illawarra, who helped pioneer the new Figtree Anglican Church building many years ago. Not only so, but he lived in St Luke's Retirement Village (very near to my house), went to St Aiden's Anglican Church (a subsidiary of Dapto Anglican, the church that I have attended my entire life) and was even the minister who married my high school principal and her husband way back in the day.
Furthermore, this man sired a son who would later become a minister himself and marry Lina's mother, both of whom knew and went to church with my mother's twin brother. Lina's mother was quite good friends with my uncle, and her father worked in ministry with him. Not only so, but Lina actually went to Sunday school with one of my cousins (although she was far too young to remember this).
The mother of my high school best friend is best friend's with Lina's aunt, whose daughters (Lina's cousins) were taught by the same piano teachers as myself, and whom I often saw at the yearly concerts and wondered who they were but was far too shy to ever talk to them. I even met Lina's aunt at my best friends house on numerous occasions, but would never have known the connection that would be in the future. Lina's other aunt and uncle have lived literally around the corner from me for much of my life, and Lina has been around the same streets as I have, even though she has lived much farther away.
Are you still following?
Because Lina went to Illawarra Christian School (pretty much the hub of all Christians in the Illawarra) she knew most of my dearest friends from church; she even knew the brother of a close friend from high school, who I now go to college with studying Audio Engineering, his name is Jono. We figured this out when she saw Jono post on my wall and thought it looked like his brother. Lina also knows quite a few other people from my high school (Smith's Hill), some of whom I was on very friendly grounds with, despite a significant age difference for high schoolers.
I could have been at the same party or function as Lina some time in my life, and neither of us would ever know it.
Which brings me to the most recent connection. There are others, probably more than I even know, but I think this post is convoluted as it is, so I'll stick to this last one. The story goes that this morning Lina and I were eating lunch at the church cafe (our church has a cafe, it's awesome, they do the best chips in Dapto and arguably the whole Illawarra), when two of our friends walked in. Lina remarked that one of them looked like this girl Grace whom she was best friends with once upon a time; she even lived next door to Grace for 3 years. I replied that she too looked like a Grace that I knew from high school. There was a moment of stiff silence as we stared at each other in slight wonderment. We both asked the same question: "What's your Grace's last name?" Turns out the two Grace's were completely different people, but they did have one thing in common; Smith's Hill High School… and I did in fact know the Grace that she was friends with, we'll call her Grace B.
Grace B had starred in and co-directed the first high school production that I was in; I was the narrator. I had been in rehearsals with this girl for 6 months (and in high school for a few years), not knowing that she was once the best friend of the girl who would one day be the woman that I love. After a quick Facebook search, I managed to find her, I was even able to view one of the photos which allowed Lina to confirm that it was actually her. Seriously, Facebook is both the best and worst tool for stalking. Lina 'friended' her, and within a minute Grace B accepted. We were both shocked, and we are still shocked, Lina has no idea what she's going to say. I personally don't know if I'll ever fully come to terms with all of these connections; I think it will always freak me out a bit.
But I will still always think it's kind of cool, and maybe a little bit romantic.
As with most things that happen in my life, it got me thinking about God's plan. I wouldn't say that I believe in fate, maybe to you I do and just call it a different name. God has shown me so many times in my life how in control he is. A story I like to tell is how when I was a kid I promised my mum I wouldn't date until I was 16, but when I got to high school and met my first major crush I so desperately wanted to break that promise, I tried many times to ask girls out but it never worked out. Lo and behold it was only after I turned 16 that I dated my first girlfriend. Yeah, I know, it's not actually that big. But I always look on that memory with fondness and know that God had a plan for me, and not even my stupid adolescent plans could get in the way of that.
A few times recently (and especially today) I've wondered about what would have happened if Lina had gone to Smith's Hill, or if I'd gone to ICS, or maybe even if we'd gone to each other's churches. Would we still have been friends, would we still have ended up together. Would I have actually ruined that possibility (as I have done unwittingly so many times) by becoming her best friend? A moment of silence for our brothers in the friend zone.
It reminds me of the passage from Acts 17 (verses 24 to 28):
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
There are so many times that I ignore the fact that God has His plan, and that it is so much better and definitely more thought out than any plans that I could make. Recently I've actually suffered the opposite extreme, I've doubted intensely whether I am doing the right thing by going to the college that I am and studying in the field that I love. The fact is though, I am exactly where God has planned me to be! I like the wording of this version, the ESV, the best:
"…and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."
God opened a door for me and I took it, and I shouldn't regret it, I should trust God and his amazing plan. He's placed me in a church with amazing friends and family, he's placed me in a family who loves Him and encourages me in my faith. He's even given me a best friend and companion who is so easy to form a connection with, who seems so perfectly placed in my life. Most importantly, he has saved my soul with the most perfect sacrifice that has ever been. Why should I have any reason to doubt Him in this one other aspect of my life.
Why should any of us doubt Him?
So here's my conclusion, as I have concluded so many times before:
TRUST GOD! He most literally cannot let you down.
I'd like to put a disclaimer here: I'm not trying to read unnecessarily into my life's circumstances in relation to God's plan. I'm not looking for evidence of 'fate' or putting my faith in them. I'm merely acknowledging those little (or maybe big) things that point to God; I'm thinking about these parts of my life through a God-centred focus. I'm gazing in awe and wonder at the magnificent size and yet minute detail of His plan.
There's a couple of other things that I'd like to share that I've been up to lately, so keep your eyes peeled for some more posts.
As an old friend once often said to me: GB, laters!