Yesterday, I noted one of the great mini-glories of this road trip – being in the right place at the right time for lots of incredible athletic accomplishments.
As if to emphasize that note, hopefully you noticed that LSU does, indeed, get to play for the Nat’l Championship – and I got to watch that Selection Show with students here, too. What a weekend to be in Baton Rouge.
But even more profound than the sports thing has been the friendships I’ve enjoyed or even gained along the way. I’ve noted in the past, for instance, the awesome opportunities to house with old friends in Chicago and Boston. Those are blessings on a large, unforgettable sort of scale. I’ve met plenty of new friends, too, which has been awesome. Yet it’s been the surprise meet-ups on this trip that have been the most unique…
2. Meetings & Remeetings (#1 was yesterday)
It’s pretty crazy how paths can cross – and re-cross – in a cross-country road trip! Like with my old Abilene pal Lindsey, who I noted a while back happened to be coming to Chicago when I was there. And who also happened to be coming to Baton Rouge the day I arrived here last Thursday. What a joy to hang with a buddy who shares my heart for ministry and has known me since long before this trip!Last night, too, I ran into a New Orleans guy at one of the LSU watching parties here in Baton Rouge – the exact same guy I’d met last month in Vermont, recruiting for seminary. Random.
Then there was that day at MIT where I ran into about 6 students I’d already met previously, in about 30 minutes. That was a fun campus visit, as was my trip to ‘Bama, where I randomly ran into a student from Dallas (Luisa) while bummin’ around those massive grounds.
Plenty of other random connections, meetings, and re-meetings have made this trip all the more fun. But when it comes to randomness, one James Kwon takes the cake – by far.
James is a new friend involved in college ministry in Rhode Island (who also makes really great ministry web sites, including for the Collegiate Church Planting Community). But I’ve never run into him there in RI – that would be too simple.
I first met James while walking through the Prudential Center in Boston, as I was hangin’ out with our mutual friend Stacey. So he and Stacey were really surprised to meet each other there, James and I met, he and Stacey exchanged pleasantries, I tried (as usual) to explain my crazy year-long road trip, and that was that.
Until a couple of weeks later. I drove to Connecticut on the way out of Boston, exploring a college ministry that night at Connecticut College. Meanwhile, those guys had asked for help leading worship – from a fellow New England college minister. Who do you think that guitar playin’ college minister was?
That, we both thought, was pretty unique. So we got to “do ministry” together that night, both visiting there in CT, and chat it up a little more.
After those experiences, then, it’s hard to say I was truly surprised last Thursday. I came into Baton Rouge that morning and dropped into the Baptist Collegiate Ministries building (where I would end up staying this weekend, but that’s another story!).
“Of course you’re here” was pretty much my thought when James popped out from a cubicle at the BCM. He just happened to be visiting a friend down here, too. You know, here in Louisiana. And he was just here for the day, planning to head to Atlanta on Friday.
Ridiculous. We shared some “super hash browns” at Louie’s that night, since we’re now good friends and all.
So if more of you plan on “bumping into me” during this trip, you better step it up. James has brought his A-game, for sure.