Friday, June 27, 2008

old friends, new friends

Have you ever had an "aha" moment with someone? Where you are talking to a stranger and then something comes up and you realize how you are already connected? Maybe through someone you both know, or that you go to the same gym (this one NEVER happens to me) or that you went to the same high school? Well, it happened to me the other day when I was least expecting it.

Let's back up, so I can tell two stories.

1. My mom has moved up here and is currently living in my house. She sold her house in Florida and is looking for one here. Yesterday we went out with our realtor and looked at houses, townhouses, condos, etc. Funny stories about that later. One house we went to had people in it because their realtor had not told them we were coming. Ok, story number 2.

2. About 9 years ago when I graduated from college, I lived by myself in an apartment and was working for the summer at my college until I found a teaching job. New guy gets hired at the college: Ryan. He is working in technology and we are talking because we are the only young people and whatdoyaknow? He lives across the parking lot from my apt and I can see into his windows from my windows. Very Friends. So we become buds and see movies and keep each other company sometimes until I moved in with another friend in a different complex. He ended up dating another friend of mine, Donna, who also found a job at our college.

Ok, so nice memories, huh?

Not so much.

See, Ryan and Donna were killed in an apartment fire on Valentine's Day. Some crazy chick was mad at her ex-boyfriend and set a couch on fire on a balcony at the building where Donna and her sister lived. Donna, her sister Rachel, their roommate Beth and Ryan all died when the building caught on fire. The girl did get sent to prison, in case you were curious.

Why are we talking about this?

Well, I kept in touch with Ryan's parents for a while, until they moved to Arizona to escape all the memories in a town where they raised their son. I couldn't find them after that.

Until yesterday.

That house we walked into where the people were still home? Ryan's sister's house.

I was walking around and looking at the house when I spotted a picture of Ryan. The lady of the house said we could ask her any questions and I am sure she meant about the house, but I said "Ryan, right? How do you know Ryan?"

She told me that she was his sister and I started babbling about how I knew him and the memories I had and how I used to keep in touch with her parents and blah, blah... Our realtor was looking at me like I was crazy, but I later explained.

The sister was so nice. We had a little cry and she gave me her parent's email address and told me to get in touch with them.

I could not believe it. Really. I mean, coincidences happen all the time, but that was amazing.

Isn't funny how little moments can really get you? I think of Ryan and Donna every Valentine's Day and wonder why that happened. What I do know is that God holds us in the palm of his hand and can take us through trials, tough times and fires.

Figuratively and literally.


Caroline said...

I remember that like it was yesterday - the fire that is. I had graduated and was living in G'boro and actually drove by the fire on my way to work that morning. Such a sad story but neat how you connected back up with them. BTW, hope you mom finds the perfect house, glad she's near you.

chickadee said...

that's so sad. and so incredible that you just walked into his sister's house.

The Roost'er said...

OK, warn a girl when you are about to lay a bombshell like that! (the fire thing...) Here I am thinking, 'ah surely this turns into hubby or bff's husband or...WHAT THE _!@#%&_!*#(%&!' Just unexpected, that's all I'm saying.)

And God' master plan. Certainly she needed to know that her brother was loved beyond her own family, that he is remembered. And his parents do, too, for sure. Praise God. How cool is that?

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Hi - jumped over here from Lulaville. I saw you were in NC AND a Friends fanatic, so I had to check you out! You seem like my kind of gal. What a bittersweet story.....

Rebekah said...

Very sad story for Ryan and Donna- but that is a little freaky about his sister's house. Freaky in a neat-o kinda way

Heather said...

That is such a sad story, but it's neat that you were able to reconnect with his family!

emily said...

I remember this day like Caroline...what an eerie sad day that was. I remember talking with friends of Rachel on the phone who said they couldn't find her. They were looking and calling, but they couldn't find her. What a horrible day. Another connection to them is my friend Katie of Wilson's Ramblings. There is a link on my blog. I think Katie's husband was Ryan's roommate...but I'm not sure. I know they were good friends with them one way or another.

That is a CRAZY Connection.

Lula! said...

I love stories like this. God never needs to prove that He is great and awesome, but I surely love it when He does.

Kat said...

Isn't that amazing. I am so glad that you were able to make that connection. What a wow moment!

Debbie said...

Wow what a story. I wasn't expecting the fire...I was expecting something more lighthearted. Going to the sister's house wasn't a was a Godincidence.