As a girl who grew up Catholic in the hills of a very Protestant East Tennessee, I always knew that my religion made me stick out like a short little sore thumb. I had friends who never understood my Faith and who weren’t welcome to share Communion with me on Sundays no matter if they had been saved or not. That was never a fun conversation, by the way, and one that always made me secretly resent my Church. Would Christ have turned them away? Really? WWJD that, please.
At any rate, as weird as it was to be Catholic here in Bible land, it was even stranger to be Jewish. So I had no real idea of the Jewish culture, but being always drawn to all Holocaust literature and everything relating to WWII, I had always been strangely curious. So it’s no wonder that on that one strange Friday night when I had blown off all plans and had chosen instead to share the night with a bottle of wine, I happened upon my one Jewish friend through online dating.
With a self-given Native American name, this friend and I talked for four hours on our very first call. I couldn’t get enough of his stories or his questions. We both busied ourselves with getting to know each other and assigning movies and music to each other until I had found the bottom of the bottle and he had found the bottom of me. The relationship built from their and the romantic part of it had ebbed and flowed more frequently than our waking patterns through those first two weeks. Finally, it was time for Passover, and after 10 or so invitations, I finally decided to make my way 3 hours east to his cabin on the side of a mountain.
If this seems like a careless and courageous thing to have done, it’s because it was, and it was something that I will always remember and never regret. I brought my dog to play with his two and we drank Kosher wine, chopped a gazillion apples, and set the Seder plate before sitting at the table to experience my very first Seder. It was one of the most spiritual and memorable nights of my existence. While I was only with my new friend with a native name less than 24 hours, I was ecstatic to have finally met him and to have experienced this very special night of prayer in Hebrew, singing, and fellowship.
We did not end up on the same page, sadly. He felt a different kind of love than I did, and after returning back to my home, I knew that this would probably break us. But the important part of this story is simply this – don’t let fear stand in the way of experience. You never know what’s on the other side if you don’t leap, and you can’t regret any experience that is created in love. There are no coincidences. God places the people we need in our lives at precisely the right time. My prayer is that my friend found that when he finally opened up his heart, beautiful memories and connections were made. My lesson? When you follow through with what your heart wants, it will lead you into exactly where you were meant to fall, and a beautiful moment is always better than no moment at all.