May 24, 2016
“All things are working for my good/He’s intentional/Never failing.”- Travis Greene
Last Friday afternoon, I found myself at the Kimmel Center taking pictures. This wasn’t my intention. If it were up to me, I’d be at home with the children watching an episode of Sesame Street (Fola is REALLY into Elmo these days). However, I’ve come to realize lately that many things aren’t up to me. I’ve got my list (actually listsssss), and the unexpected happens, forcing me to chuck them and go with the flow. I suppose motherhood is making me more flexible and it’s teaching me to exchange my rigidity for spontaneity. I’m learning that God is intentional. So even when I think my plans are shot, God knows what He’s doing the entire time.
During the summer of 2011, my roomate at the time was moving to Central America. Was I happy for him? Of course! Did I know how I was going to pay his half of the rent? Not one bit. So I started devising a bunch of plans to come up with rent money.
One day that summer, I was walking around downtown Philly near the convention center around 12th and Vine Street. I bumped into Joan. She and I attended college at Washington and Lee University. Although she was several years my junior, I knew her because she helped to charter a chapter of my sorority on my campus. This is no small feat considering we attended a predominantly white institution where Black Greek life was often misunderstood and marginalized.
It was certainly a surprise seeing her in Philly. She told me she’d recently graduated from W&L and was now at Drexel University’s College of Medicine pursuing her medical degree. She also was in the city apartment hunting. Boom. Just like that, a seemingly random encounter worked out for our good. I found a roommate and Joan had an apartment conveniently located near public transportation to quickly access DUCOM’s center city campus.
That year went by quickly. Joan moved and I got a new roommate. She attended my wedding in 2013 but we lost touch thereafter. So it was certainly a surprise when I received an e-mail from Joan late Wednesday night. We talked for a couple of hours the next morning, catching up and chatting about our lives. She was graduating from DUCOM on Friday and headed to Penn State for an anesthesiology residency. We reconnected as we shared over our belief in the power of people’s stories. She needed a photographer and I agreed. To say I was blessed was an understatement. Her parents beamed with joy. Her two older siblings poured out their love on her. Her best friends since forever doted on her and made sure she looked right for every picture. During her reception at Kilamanjaro, a West African restaurant in West Philly, the speeches from family members and friends alike revealed commonalities. Joan is a caring, prayerful, determined, intelligent and loving woman who brings joy to all of those around her. She’s a woman of great character and integrity who fights for what she believes is right.
Even though it wasn’t my plan to be taking pictures last Friday, I was blessed. I left that celebration invigorated and thankful for the opportunity to document such a momentous occasion in her life.
Congratulations Joan and I pray that God continues to order your steps in the way He wants you to go.