Yesterday, I promised you a great story of a great meet-up. Today, I’m going to tell you how I, Rachel from finding joy, met Carissa from lowercase letters. It’s more than just your regular blogger meet up story.
It’s the story of a friendship.
And really, it’s unbelievable.
I don’t even know how to start. I’m sitting here staring at the screen wondering what should be the first line. Should it be the connection that we’ve forged over the last years? Or the laughter that we share? Or how we met in Charleston? Or how Carissa was just as fabulous as we all know she is? Or that I feel like I’ve known her forever? All true. But, today, I’m going to start with a bracelet.
Remember back in April when I held a give-away (technically according to legal rules a sweepstakes) for a bracelet from my friend Amy’s business, Legacy Bracelets? Well, I prayed and prayed and prayed that whoever won the bracelet would be exactly who the Lord wanted that bracelet to go to. And the winner was my already close friend, Carissa. Who decided to have the bracelet made for her grandmother — with pictures of her kids on it.
Fast forward. July. When I travel to Hilton Head Island in beautiful South Carolina. And where did I fly into? Charleston. Carissa’s home. Of course we were planning on meeting up — we just waited during the week to finalize details. After being fairly disconnected for a week from internet I emailed Carissa with the line whatcha doing Saturday? — only to discover that her sweet grandfather had died and that she might not be able to make lunch as she had to fly out on Saturday. In the midst of trying to manage a lunch together (which we did) we discovered — via email — that the oddest coincidence had occurred.
We were on the same flight from Charleston to Atlanta.
I remember emailing her asking if it’s possible that the flight she was on was Delta 730 leaving at 6:25. The flight that we had booked months prior. She emailed back that my flight was her flight. I really couldn’t believe it. What are the odds of that happening?
We went through our lunch at Poogan’s Porch on beautiful Queen Street in Charleston. I was nervous, yep totally nervous, and yet when we met it was as if we had known each other for years and years and years. My friends and I and sweet Carissa went upstairs to eat our lunch and we laughed and shared stories and our faith. And my friends told me that our lunch meet-up was one of the highlights of our entire trip. They loved her just as I much as I already did.
We did the obligatory posed but trying not to look posed pictures outside.Ha ha ha. My friends were trying to get me to smile or laugh or something and I just made silly faces. Then we hugged a short goodbye, and left our Queen Street meeting spot, because we knew we’d meet in the airport soon. Strange, huh?
Fast forward to the Airport. As we waited in the Delta check in line we met again. And yes, I saw that adorable and loveable Sage of hers. Her mother was with — they were flying together for her grandfather’s memorial service. After going through security (which was so easy in Charleston) we met again at the boarding gate. And Amy met her mother.
Re-enter the bracelet.
Carissa explained to her mother that Amy was the one who made the bracelet for her grandmother, her mom’s mom, wife of her grandfather who just passed. Then she explained how important that bracelet was because it had pictures of her grandfather on it with his grandchildren. I stood there, in an airport in the midst of Charleston, and watched the exchange, the tears in Amy’s eyes as the bracelet was discussed and I could only marvel that the Lord, our great Creator, could put together such a meeting. In the midst of hardness and sadness there was this common thread of joy and family. He knew how our lives would be woven together in such an unbelievable story.
It was a beautiful moment.
I remember sitting on the plane as it soared in the sky between Atlanta and Charleston thinking that Carissa was on this plane with me. I couldn’t have ever thought that we would be sharing this experience. Ever. Once in Atlanta we gave our hugs goodbye — again — and proceeded through the crazy Atlanta Airport. As I sat eating my overpriced dinner of salad Amy, Julie and I chatted about how much we enjoyed spending time with Carissa. My heart was so grateful for our afternoon together, and yet, at the same time sad that there wasn’t more time — it was too short.
We proceeded to wait at our gate and all of a sudden felt a tap on our backs. It was Carissa and her mom. Their gate was switched and they were right next to ours. Again. The odds. Crazy. We chatted more — and Sage took a liking to my friend Amy — and shared stories and life and even joked that this would make an unbelievable blog meet-up story. No one could plan one quite like this one.
Again, hugs goodbye. And this time for real. As I sat in my plane headed for Minneapolis (which as you know got diverted to Chicago) I looked out my window. At Carissa’s plane. As it loaded. And I texted her goodbye.
I know it’s not a forever goodbye.
In fact, I feel so blessed that the Lord intertwined our lives the way He did. What started out as a blogging friendship, progressed to an even deeper friendship, and now to a real life I met you and know that we are forever friends type friendship.
It’s an unbelievable blessing.
And she even liked my silly Minnesotan way of talking. Ya know. That’s real friends.
Ever heard a story like this?
Want to hear Carissa’s view? Make sure to read her perspective as well — click here. And I simply must thank her for several of the pictures on my blog today (all labeled lowercaseletters). My camera? In my car. I know, I know, I know….I was so into packing for the flight that I spaced it all out. My other pictures (taken by Amy) aren’t ready yet. So be looking for some more wonderful pics soon.