As some of you may remember from this post here, I have been waiting for a kindred spirit for a long time now. About a month ago, I thought I spied her inside my local Starbucks. I felt a connection with a girl sitting across the room on an overstuffed couch while I sat next to the window at a table, typing away on my computer. I made eye contact with her a few times, and we even exchanged a few smiles. This is significant, since I do not often smile at strangers and even less frequently make prolonged eye contact. Eventually, though, she got up and left, and I had done nothing about it.
That same day, right after she left, I started an essay that began, "I think my Diana just walked out the door." I titled it "Waiting for My Diana." Though I never finished that essay, the story serves as a good illustration for the hope I've continued to hold that a Florida-based kindred spirit will stumble on into my life.
Tonight may have been the night. I met a girl named Lauren. She and her husband were our invited guests to an advance screening of Amazing Grace. Kirk has known them for years and even told me about her two and a half years ago, when we first met on the cruise to Ireland. When I met her husband last month at an arts gathering for our church, he spent about five minutes with me before echoing the same thing Kirk has been saying all this time: "We really need to get you and Lauren together."
Well, tonight that finally happened. While Kirk distributed information about the film to the line of people outside the door, I was privileged to spend some time with Lauren. And here is what I learned about her. I learned that she loves writing and that her favorite kind of books are the nonfiction spiritual reflection type, just like me. I learned that she loves Anne Lamott, Donald Miller, and Lauren Winner, who are among my top favorites, and that she's been meaning to re-read Winner's book Girl Meets God, which is a book I read five years ago and just started re-reading this month. I learned, too, that she majored in English and is not native to Florida, either.
These are just the surface details, but perhaps the most telling thing is that I opened up to her about my writing in a way I haven't done with a stranger in a very long while. (Usually I have trouble describing the kind of work I'm attempting to do.) After a prolonged bit of time sharing about myself -- and, specifically, at a depth of sharing how God's recent work in my life is affecting my writing -- I got self-conscious and said, "I need to stop blabbering!" And do you know what she said to me? She said, "No! Go on! I want to know everything about you!"
Wow. I've never had someone say that to me after knowing me just thirty minutes. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever had someone other than my husband say something that direct to me before. It really made my jaw drop.
Needless to say, Lauren's warmth and enthusiasm and definitely her shared interests endeared her to me. After the film we exchanged phone numbers, of course, and I plan to call her this weekend to set a coffee date. I have great hopes she is just the kind of friend I have been praying for all this while.
Oh, and by the way: For those of you who have no idea what I mean by all that Diana stuff, I highly recommend that you visit your local library this weekend and borrow the Anne of Green Gables DVD.