Here is a section from my journal:
At lunch today a friend, G, mentioned that he met a guy who was running the entire Camino alone, from France to Spain’s west coast (about 800 kilometers). Later on in the afternoon I get a text saying: “He showed up at my store! Can you come eat with us?”
G picks me up on his motorcycle and we meet up with Kevin.
He looks like he has been running for hundreds of miles. Which he has. He started eleven days ago, and has run more than a marathon and a half every day. Read that again.
G had told me he was from San Fransisco, but as we talked I asked, “You don’t sound like you are from California. Where are you from?”
Kevin: ”I am from California, but I spent some years in Minnesota.”
Me: ”Really. What part?”
Kevin: ”I went to college at St. Olaf.”
Me: ”Well, I grew up in Minnesota, and most recently lived in Edina.”
Kevin: ”My mom, and grandparents are all from Edina.”
The conversation continues. We talk about running. We talk about ultras. We talk about what he is learning about himself on the Camino. Both he, and our mutual friend G, have been challenged emotionally and spiritually. As G slips away to pay the bill (something we discover later), Kevin mentions more about his religious background.
“I have grown up Lutheran but spent time in a Baptist church while in college.”
Me: ”In Minnesota? Which one?”
Kevin: ”It was in Stillwater. It was called Grace Baptist.”
Me: ”Do you know a guy named Tyler?!”
Kevin: ”We are good friends. And Shad the pastor.”
Me: ”Tyler, and his wife Olga, were in nearly every class of mine in my graduate studies!”
The funny part is that the next morning G and I were going to run with him out of Ponferrada, and we planned a time and meeting place, but never actually found him! God brought us together incredibly, and then when we tried to plan a meeting place we missed it.
I am confident there is something beyond coincidence happening here.