“You two have to meet!”
That had been the recurring refrain among our 38 mutual Facebook friends. Most of the suggestions came through individual comments, phone calls, and text messages. “You have to meet my friend!” and “Oh my goodness, I need for you two to meet!” kept ringing from their voices, typed hands, and sent words. And while I’m not sure how she and I became friends on the social media platform, oftentimes, when people would discover in a shared comment section that we had yet to meet in person, they were shocked.
DaJuana and I had been subject to these “you have to meet” declarations for many years. Our mutual friends were convinced that one meeting would make us good friends.
I’ll admit….I’d heard things like this before about other people I “just had to meet.” Someone would swear that I needed to meet someone they knew. And there was a promise of loving them, a promise of enjoying them, but when the meeting was forced on me… when it was pressurized… when their famed person was brought to me being pulled behind the person doing the introducing, usually after a church service, it would make the meeting awkward….
Because I’m an introvert…and I don’t do well in forced introductions.
The new person and I would usually just stand there, exchanging superficial banter, but ultimately walk away. And there would be no forming any type of relationship because our mutual friend was trying to introduce us on their terms, and by their standards, and by their rules.
And I’m sure that people walked away from me, as I did from them, thinking, “I don’t know what the hype was about. They weren’t all that great.”
So, when I kept being told, “You have to meet DaJuana!” I initially rejected the idea—even from people that I trusted, because of my previous uncomfortable encounters. I was unopened to the idea because I kept basing my past experiences on it
Occasionally, she and I would inbox each other. I’d check on her…she’d check on me…we would have sporadic conversations, via chat, always meaningful…promising to make time to meet each other…someday.
Through these conversations we found out that our husbands were best friends in elementary school, I sang at a wedding where she was the director, we attended the same university but missed each other by a year…there were so many instances where we were in proximity of one another, or shared the same relationships with others…but we, officially, hadn’t met.
Ultimately, all of our mutual friends got sick of saying it. In fact, I think most of them abandoned the idea of us getting together. They lost hope in the idea that one day we would finally meet…
Yet, there were those few friends that continued to nudge at the idea. They held on to a kind of faith that if DaJuana and I occupied the same space, a true friendship would surely form.
But our separate lives kept moving. Our separate schedules got busier. Both of us would often express intent, but it wouldn’t happen. And still those friends—they would quietly say, “You all have to meet,” because they knew that if we shared the same space…
After a difficult year, and the promise of another challenging one ahead, my #theboyfriend insisted on sending me on a “momcation.” I needed to clear my mind, I needed to rest my heart, I needed to relax. And it just so happened that the city in which he was sending me to do all of these things was the city that DaJuana resided.
“You two have to meet,” played loudly in my mind, but even more so was a statement that our mutual friend made in a comment section of one of our FB posts a year ago: “I had one job, and I did it. I told you two about each other…” and he was right. He, as well as others, had told us about each other, but the rest was up to us. After hearing about her for close to eight years, I made the decision to reach out…
And when we stepped into each other’s presence, we wrapped our arms around each other. We talked as if we were picking up old conversations. We found joy in our shared experiences. We empathized with our losses and heartache. We laughed hard and lifted each other up
…and we lost track of time.
The faith of our friends paid off. They knew that they didn’t have to force us together, they knew they didn’t have to drag us up to each other, they knew they didn’t have to create stipulations for our meeting—they knew that if they just introduced the idea, and they talked enough good about the both of us, our desire to meet would become so great that we would seek each other out; and they knew that when we finally did meet, a relationship would form and our lives would change.
As time winded down, after six hours of uninterrupted conversation. I looked at my new, good girlfriend, DaJuana, and I said, “People knew if we just got in the same space, the rest would take care of itself.”
“Yep,” she replied.
And then it dawned on me….
“Christians should do the same thing with people…and Jesus.”
You know I’m right…