I went to a writer’s conference in Atlanta yesterday and observed something funny about my habits. If people were from Northwest Georgia and asked where I was from, I’d tell them Cedartown. If they weren’t from our corner of the state, i’d just say I was from Rome. I figured that was close enough. Cedartown is a little more famous now that Nick Chubb and Sam Hunt have brought us some attention, but I’ve gotten a lot of blank stares through the years and have just learned to cope.
The whole thing reminded me of a great story my daddy tells that he heard growing up. Two guys were on a troop transport in Europe during World War II. Everyone started talking and calling out hometowns. Among the group were one guy “from Chattanooga” and one “from Atlanta.” That sounded pretty close to them, and they started asking a few more questions and finally got to “Rome” and “Cartersville.” It took a few more minutes to realize that they were from Taylorsville and Aragon — only about a handful of miles apart as the crow flies.
In life, I’ve found a geographic connection can be powerful; it’s nice to find home folks in our wanderings. But it’s also nice to find connections with people that make us say “Hey, me too!” In a room full of writers — all of whom it can be assumed share something in common — I was amazed to be sitting next to a writer of Christian fiction, someone also looking to use her talents to honor God. I am excited to have a new friend (who I owe an email!) and a God who ordained our steps so that our paths would cross.