Laura came into the world in 1987, born in the city that I would move to two years later. In 2011, our world collided, even though we never met until today.
You see, I knew Laura’s parents very well. Like the good folks that they are, I knew many the stories of this lovely women and many of our similarities. I knew that she is a PK like my kids. But not just any PK, Laura and her brother are PK2 in that both of their parents are pastors. "It's the only thing I've known.
I didn't know if Laura knew that she’d fall in love when she and a college friend moved to her new hometown of Philadelphia. “It’s a small big city. Lots of diversity” is not what comes to my mind when I think of her town. I think Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin, and some of the most loyal sports fan ever (they’re still trying to shake the reputation as the fans who pelted Santa with snowballs).
For Laura and her husband, it’s home. The place where their love flourishes. It’s also where they’re involved in the theater scene, enjoy the annual “Pi” festival at their friend’s house, and where Laura has shaken the label PK to create a version of herself that is solely her own.
No matter how much her mom told me about her, I had no idea that Laura would sparkle and shine when she spoke about her fundraising job for the Ronald McDonald House. If there is any fun in fundraising, Laura seems to be the kind of person who would find it. Just as she loves her town, she also loves to write grants, meet with new people and form lasting relationships. In speaking of her job she said, “It’s easy for me to invest in because I get to see the value every day.” I'd venture to say that would sum up her entire way of seeing life.
I did find out something that her parents probably didn't know. That is what she ate for breakfast today – an Eggo waffle. I also found out that she loves to dress up for Halloween. “I have a very agreeable husband” who, in their four short years of marriage, has been all sorts of character couples. "He's been Elmer Fudd to my Bugs Bunny." I believe you can learn a lot from a person by the kind of people they attract. And by what they value.
Case in point, Laura's favorite Muppet is Fozzy the Bear. “First I love teddy bears. But I also like how his jokes are an equal opportunity for all people to laugh. The family jokes we hold on to have come from Fozzy.” Like this puppet bear, Laura has a way of bringing people together for a purpose, be it to raise money or just a little mischief to keep life interesting.
I’m not sure which of her parents Laura reminds me of. She looks like her mother, with a soft gentle smile and eyes that are focused on life. Yet, she has the soft soul of her father and shares his passion for family history and yes, maps. Like them both, Laura knows the value of life and what it takes to sustain it.
But after we said our “thank you’s” and “goodbyes,” I began to think it’s just a part of her DNA. The more people I meet in this social experiment, the more I discover that we all share a common bond. For Laura and I it might be her parents, but in reality its bigger than that.
She might live in the city of brotherly love, but we all live in a state of grace, a spirit of kindness, and the light of the divine that is lit within us all. All you have to do is meet Laura to see how true that really is.