I landed on the other side of the world on Sunday, August 19, 2012 and met her the first day of my adventure. After he introduced us, the interpreter helped us communicate for the rest of the afternoon and evening. She spoke one of the many Mandarin dialects, and I spoke English. Though neither could understand the other, we quickly connected and became friends.
We met again eleven days later but this time without an interpreter. We sat across the table from each other pointing, gesturing, and smiling to communicate. We had known each other for only a little while, but a bond had formed that would go with us when we went our separate ways. Lunch ended, we hugged goodbye, and then I stepped into my taxi to go to my hotel to prepare to return to the United States. As we drove away I turned to look at her through the back window and waved as she waved back. I cried silently wondering if I would ever see her again.
I did see her again here in America in October of 2015. We were both attending the same religious conference in Nashville. She didn’t know I would be there, but I knew she would be, so I searched until I found her. No one had to interpret what either of us was thinking. Our eyes met, and we both squealed with delight. We leaned in to hug tightly across the backs of the chairs as tears flowed down our faces. It was wonderful to see her again.
It only took a moment for our lives to be altered, though we did nothing significant to cause such an impact. No words were ever spoken to acknowledge the life change, but we both knew our meeting had changed us.
It cannot always be explained, but God has a way of bringing people together at the right time for a specific purpose. When I met her I was unaware of the chaos awaiting me in the U.S. But when I returned home trouble met me. As I maneuvered my way (with God's help) through the significant difficulty over the next few years my memories of that momentous meeting helped me keep things in perspective. There was a much bigger picture beyond the problem confronting me, and I found strength in knowing that.
Though it was difficult to communicate when we met, friendship brought us together. It was the language we both understood. It's "words" gave sustaining life.