Small World — Big Circles

My wife and I met Greg only a couple of different times, and then only briefly. We did not know him well, but he impressed us both most favorably. My wife may have a different memory, but what I remember most about him was his beautiful smile and genuine personal warmth.
We saw Greg last in Bali on the occasion of our son’s most fantastic wedding celebration. On our way back home to Texas after this, I remember thinking how fortunate our son, Tom, and his wife, Val, were to have friends like Greg. We grieve now for them and with all who knew and loved Greg — knowing how great is their loss.
We have learned more about Greg since his passing, most recently, just last night when we visited with a neighbor who had just lost her own husband to a long and debilitating illness. She was surrounded in her home when we got there by several family members who had traveled considerable distances to comfort her. We visited for a while, sharing our memories of her husbad. Then, as we prepared to leave, I encouraged our neighbor to accept our next dinner invitation; she had not felt free to accept previous invitations we had made while her husband was still alive but ill and unable to accompany her. I made a point of suggesting that we might want to get together one night when Tom and Val will be visiting us soon from Singapore. But my wife opined that this might not be such a good idea since the recent loss of their friend, Greg. We won’t know what mood they will be in — whether they will be comfortable socializing with folks they don’t know.
“Greg? Singapore?” Our neighbor asked. “Are you talking about Greg Kahn?”
“Why, yes,” my wife answered with considerable surprise.
“Craig,” our neighbor called out to her son in another room.” Come in here please. The Garry’s knew your friend, Greg.”
Everyone was aghast at the strangeness of the coincidence — that half a world away we should encounter someone that, unknown to us before, would have known the same someone else. The odds are, well, beyond calculation.
For the next half hour or more we listened to Craig Wilson tell us about his good friend, Greg. I see that Craig has posted his own remembrance story on this site. I encourage you to read it.
So, for us the lesson in this story is that this big world of ours isn’t really so big after all; that big circles of friendship like Greg’s and Craig’s eventually intersect with our smaller circles. For me, it makes statistical probabilities less likely and the idea that God puts people in our paths for His own good reasons more likely.

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