National Park #thisiscrazylove2016

Several years ago my wife and I went west for the wedding of our friends Erin and Kirk.

***This is crazy, a person a day for the whole year of 2016 to show love and appreciation to on social media. It may be someone in my everyday life or someone I may not have spoken to for years. You can feel free to jump into this craziness with all of us and start today. It’s never to late this year to start the love and appreciation. Check out the rest of the crazies participating with: ‪#‎thisiscrazylove2016‬ - Tyler Merritt

My wife, being the master travel planner she is, made the most of our trip by adding to our days in California. We took a wine train and tour in Napa Valley. We wandered around San Francisco. We went to Yosemite.

Oh, beautiful Yosemite. You are a delightful locale.

 It's hard to find a photo of these two indoors. They love to explore the earth.  

It's hard to find a photo of these two indoors. They love to explore the earth.  

We camped out at Yosemite at a place that sets up your tent for you and it was fantastic. One day at the camp site I was sitting out by a big fire pit. I noticed a young boy with a woman sitting across from me.

Being the extrovert that I am I began to engage with the little guy.

A few minutes later I was talking to his mom Kim and making a new friend.

This is pretty normal for me. I can't help it. I just like meeting people.

After a few minutes my wife came out to join me and her wife Mary Beth and their other son did as well.

We chatted a few more minutes about all kinds of stuff and that was that.

 When the boys were asked where they wanted to go for a vacation earlier last year they said, "Glacier National Park! We gotta go soon! Before it all melts!" Those dudes are so cool.  

When the boys were asked where they wanted to go for a vacation earlier last year they said, "Glacier National Park! We gotta go soon! Before it all melts!" Those dudes are so cool.  

Later we connected again and spent more time talking. During that time we dove a little deeper into our conversation.

It was great getting to hear their story of life as a family in Portland and they seemed to enjoy our stories of being a couple of married folk without any kids of our own living in the south.

We ran into each other a few more times and that was it.

About a week after we'd returned to Nashville Mary Beth emailed me at work. She had done a little search online based on the fact that she knew I was a pastor at a church in Nashville on Music Row.

Turns out, finding folks on the internet isn't that difficult.

She sent a very sweet email asking if I was the same Stuart she and Kim had met at Yosemite.

It was an email I appreciated more than she will ever know. I too had been thinking about our conversations and thought it would be great to stay connected but I didn't know how to do so.

You know those times when you find yourself in a conversation with someone and everything seems to click into gear? Think the movie "Serendipity" without the romance. Those times when, after leaving the shared moment, you think, "I should have gotten contact info from that person. They'd be a great person to get better acquainted."

 Having lunch in Portland and continuing the friendship.  

Having lunch in Portland and continuing the friendship.  

This was one of those times for Beck and me.

However, once you decide to look them up and reach out it can quickly seem strange when you've gone to all this trouble to find them and reach out.

At least that's the stuff that goes on in between my ears.

Is the person going to read into this the wrong way?

Am I being too forward for a friendly connection?

Blah blah blah.

 

Like I said, I'm glad she reached out.  

I responded back quickly and excited that we had seemed interesting enough a couple to track down.

We became better acquainted by way of Facebook and over the next couple of years just popped in on each other through posts or messages.

Then, when a couple of our friends were getting hitched on Portland this last year I reached out to Kim and Mary Beth.

We were able to meet up with them for lunch.

It was the same feel as the first meeting.

Four people who just clicked into conversation.

We decided (I think it was Kim's idea) that we should begin a tradition to meet up every so often at a different National Park and spend time together catching up.

I love this idea. Beck and I are in early stages of figuring out when we can visit another one soon.

When we get to that point we'll definitely be reaching out to team Jacobowitz-Kurilo because who's better to discover the work with than some good friends?