“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It’s not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” ~Ashley Montagu
She came out from behind the counter.
We had flown for a couple hours, found our way through a foreign airport, then driven for quite a bit. The drive was up into the mountains, the flatness of the hazy city fading far into the distance.
And then she came out from behind the counter. She came right out.
And she welcomed us. They welcomed us. Like long-lost sisters – which in some sense, we were – to a place so far up in the Hunan sky.
It was as if she already knew that this was a homecoming which of course she did not, could not, until sometime later. In our dishevelment, we were embraced and treated as family, warmly, resolutely. Family.
And it was crazy, even if it wasn’t random. Crazy in the sense that it felt like the most foreign home I’d ever been to. But home it was. From the initial embrace, it was full-on hospitality wherever we went. Almost as if she got out the word.
From walking down the street (smiles, waves, big toothy grins) to gifts from the orphanage director (he labeled himself her Chinese Papa) to the magical breakfast soup maker who shyly allowed her photo to be taken.
So what do we take away from experiences that seem, in may ways, other-worldly? For me, it’s a sense of destiny, a belief that these connections were meant to be.
There were people whom we didn’t know – prior to those few days in July – but whom now we call friend. There’s a bit of a miracle in that, particularly in the whirlwind of the present day. The differences hold little meaning for us now. We are, at once, all the same. It’s not random.