“Go there!” my wife Tee demanded, pointing impulsively to a small handmade sign she spotted at the corner of an intersection while traveling through a small off-the-beaten-path town in rural Tennessee near where we were visiting this past weekend. The sign read “quilts 2 miles” with an arrow pointing down a narrow country lane. Being obedient to her command I turned immediately and sure enough about two miles down the road came upon a charming country cottage with a sign announcing “quilts”. We turned up the gravel driveway lined on both sides with large rose bushes loaded with bright red roses. At the top of the drive we exited our car and rather timidly tapped on the front door which was answered by a most delightful lady who looked as one might expect an expert quilter to look. “Do you have quilts?” we inquired, to which she responded yes and graciously invited us into her lovely home. But once inside we were disappointed in how few quilts she had, only a small sampling of her works. Then she began to explain how her quilts sold quickly, most before they were made, a credit to her fine reputation as a master quilter. She shared photos with us of many of the beautiful quilts she had made through the years, taking time to explain the various designs and patterns and how she tediously stitched each small patch of fabric together to create her works of art which often times took months to complete. Stepping into the next room she showed us her most current work-in-progress, a quilt she casually mentioned that had been commissioned by a lady from Texas where we are from – and then as if speaking to herself almost under her breath she happened to whisper the lady’s name. You can only imagine the surprised looks on all our faces when we blurted back to her the name she had just whispered as one of our closest and dearest of friend. What are the chances of such a thing out here on a Tennessee country road, right? But because of it our whole relationship with the quilt lady suddenly changed – once strangers now friends.
If you do not believe there are only six degrees of separation between any human being, think again; for this is not the first time such coincidences have occurred with us, chance connections between a close friend and a complete stranger. It is in such rare moments that strangers are no longer strangers but kindred members of the same human family, created in the image of the same Creator. Such moments must make God smile, and I suspect it might be a dream of His that we would all see each other that way all the time.