CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

July 3, 2008

IT’S NOT THAT SMALL A WORLD


—written by Monte:

     One of my tenants said “It’s a small world,” after I related to her a few of our experiences on the New England trip. Later I thought to myself, “No! It’s a world in which God brings some real surprises to remind us that He is still in charge, that ‘Behind the dim unknown, standeth God within the shadow keeping watch above his own,’ as James Russell Lowell wrote in a familiar hymn.”

     The surprising events—let me tell you a few of them, starting with the most amazing situation. A year ago Carolyn had sent out a note to the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, letting them know I was available for guest or fill-in preaching during our vacation. Rev. Karen Munson, pastor of the Readfield: Torsey Memorial United Methodist Church in Readfield, Maine, responded, scheduling us on September 7 in this small community northwest of Augusta. At the beginning of worship, during a greeting time for the forty-five to fifty worshipers, I went down from the pulpit side and Karen descended from the lectern side. Soon she approached me. “You need to come over here and meet someone who went to grade school with you,” she said. Elma Wilson Poole had recognized my name during the announcements and told Karen we’d attended school together in DeKalb, New York, at the District 11 one-room schoolhouse. I was shocked. She had recently married Gordon Poole, also a DeKalb Junction native. He had lived in Maine since 1960. Was this a chance meeting or was God in the midst of it all? We made the most of it, having a wonderful time with the Poole’s at the Litchfield Fair and at dinner afterwards. Thanks be to God for wonderful surprises like “bolts out of the blue!”

     During the summer we stayed at a number of motels, cottages, cabins, etc. In rural Maine there’s a little community called Liberty, the location of Cozy Pines Campgrounds. The couple that run it are retired from the Navy. We stayed there three different times, since the price was right for their waterless sleeping cabins, some with stove, refrigerator and dishes (still no water). Carolyn, especially, had got acquainted with them on our stays.

     On our way home we stayed two days in Newport, Rhode Island, researching some of Carolyn’s early ancestors who’d lived there in the 1600’s and 1700’s. We stopped in a parking lot so we could go to the visitor center. A car pulled up beside us and the man kept staring surrepticiously at us, making Carolyn uncomfortable.

     After a few minutes the man left his car and rapped Carolyn’s window. It was the owners of Cozy Pines who were parked exactly beside us and recognized us. Was it a coincidence that at exactly the same time and almost exactly the same spot our paths crossed again without either of us knowing that the other was to be there? Or was God smiling in the shadows, as he brought us one more surprise?

     God wasn’t done yet. A couple of days later, enroute home, we pulled into a parking place at a Motel 6. A truck with a trailer hauling a new Thunderbird was parked near our spot. Its owners stood nearby, holding a cute, little dog that Carolyn stopped to admire. In the conversation the owners said they summer at Southport, an island we had visited on the Maine coast. Carolyn said she had walked the beach there and in May I had preached (on Mexico missions) at Southport United Methodist Church.

     Dana, the pastor there, had told me about two parishioners from Texas who visit Mexico a lot, but I missed meeting them because they were away. This was the couple. We ended up meeting them after all.

     Another coincidence? My statistical mindset says, “No!” What do you think?

For additional reading:

BLACK FLIES AND OTHER INSECTS: Then and Now

OF FIREFLIES AND LIGHTNING BUGS

YOU MEAN THIS NEW ENGLANDER IS A WESTSYLVANIAN?

THE AMAZING BEAVER

OH, TO CLIMB SCHOODIC MOUNTAIN (Maine)

SOUTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIANS DRINK MOXIE: Do They Like It?

LOGGING IN MAINE AND ON THE PERU-BRAZILLIAN BORDER

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1 Comment »

  1. I want to say thank you to all the Readfield (Maine) United Methodist Church persons, and any other Readfield person, who visited http://www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com to read this article. We had a great time visiting the community, thanks to Rev. Karen Munson, who was such a gracious hostess. Carolyn

    Comment by Carolyn — November 12, 2008 @ 2:39 am | Reply


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