I have always secretly believed in soul mates, not just in a romantic sense but in the sense that sometimes you are touched by someone in a way so deeply that you know there is something far more going on than the one small act or look that may have happened. You know you have connected, not just with a person, but with something startling, something breath-taking, something perhaps even eternal.
I walked into the gymnasium of a high school one day, late in the day, completely unaware that such a moment, such a soul mate connection was about to happen. The gym was full of women from all over Alaska and the Yukon. Being from a small community in the north, I was amazed to see so many. Knowing these women were all Christians astounded me. Our group back home was tiny and I had not yet experienced a setting in which the wider church was real and powerful. I felt that power as I walked among the women that day.
I saw her almost immediately. In a sea of native women who were stereotypically short and stocky, she was tall, slender and stunningly calm. Our eyes met and smiled at one another. She turned and I went on for a while, then looked for her again. I could see the back of her head now, its gray-streaked braid lying soft on her neck.
That first night I was asked to give testimony. I had never spoken in front of so many before, but I knew what God had done and wanted to tell it. Several came and spoke to me afterwards. She came from behind me, placed her hands on my shoulders. I felt her prayers go in and out of me, a breeze, a knife, a swelling river. Another woman held my attention until I was aware that she had moved away. Again I looked and saw her back blend into the crowd.
For three days I watched her – in prayer, at table, wrapped in worship. I wandered among those women, always aware of her, but we did not move to speak until the last day, the last hour. I was at the airport, waiting to board the six-seater that would carry us back to our small community of faithful and blind. I saw her sitting in the waiting area. When I sat down she smiled and took my hand.
I asked her name and she gave it. I asked where she lived and she said, “On the River.”
“The Yukon?” I asked, and was delighted to know that she lived on the same swift flowing ribbon that gripped my heart each day.
She nodded. “When I wake up each day I look out and see the River and I think about Jesus. I pray to Jesus and think about my family too.” She turned to me, her gray eyes so gentle it hurt. “Now I will think about you, too.”
Sometimes I feel her hands on my shoulders again. I feel her prayers, going in and out of me like the flowing of a mighty river. And I do believe in soul mates.
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. The sequel to One Smooth Stone will be released in March, 2012. A collection of devotionals for writers has just been released here. Visit Marcia's website