I was thinking this week about the people who come into our lives and the purposes they serve. I’ve definitely noticed that some people walk into our lives for a season and others stay for the long haul. But even the people who stay for a short time can have happened along for a reason, and they change us, making a real difference to who we are.
When I was 24 I traveled around South East Asia for the first time. It was an amazing experience for many reasons but one particular time always stands out in my memory.
It was a Friday evening and I was heading to get some food in the Mall beneath the petroleum towers in Kuala Lumpur before catching a night train to Singapore later the same night. As the escalators snaked around and up the four floors to the food court I happened to glance down at the escalator a floor down and see a man heading up behind me. He was extremely attractive and I couldn’t help but smile at him. Then as the escalators continued up and around I caught his eye and smiled again (I might have also stuck out my tongue). Both times he smiled back. As the escalators reached the fourth floor I decided to stop at the top and wait for my mystery man and upon arriving at the same floor he came over to say hello. (I should probably point out that I was with a friend at the time who was questioning all of these moves)
We ended up having dinner together that evening and I discovered that he was from the USA and he was on his own travelling for 18 months. He was keen for me to stay in Kuala Lumpur for the evening to go to a party but I explained that our train was leaving in a couple of hours. I wanted to stay but my friend who I was travelling with wasn’t keen and so in the end I had no choice but to say goodbye. However, before I did, I gave him my phone number and suggested he include Singapore in his travelling plans. He was reluctant, but my friend offered her flat as free accommodation and he said he’d try and head down to see us the following day. I couldn’t take a number from him as he was travelling without a phone and this was back in the days when not everyone had facebook. As I walked away that evening I remember giggling with my friend that I’d been so brazen as to stick my tongue out at a guy on an escalator (It doesn’t seem like such a big deal now but back then it really did). Being in another Country, miles from anyone else I knew had definitely made me braver than I would have been normally.
I never expected to see the man from the escalator ever again and yet low and behold, the following day my phone rang. He had arrived at the bus station in Singapore having spent all day travelling from another Country just to see me. I’ve never been so shocked, or so flattered. We spent the next few days hanging out and exploring Singapore together before he got on a bus to his next destination and I never saw him again. I don’t think I needed to. We’d shared a lovely holiday romance and we both knew that that was as far as it was ever going to go. And that was fine. Great even. We had a wonderful time together and I learnt that sometimes its worth being brave and taking a chance. For him, he took a huge risk in travelling to another Country but sometimes life is about taking chances and letting ourselves follow mysterious, unknown paths to the most wonderful places.