Intersecting Plot Lines

Photo credit: Daniel Ansel Tingcungco, Flickr, Creative Commons, cc

It’s the tiny clues that hit my subconscious. Triggers of another plotline weaving briefly through mine.

A dark-haired man drives his car around a curve and, in the sixty seconds I see him, he’s banging both hands on the steering wheel, and bouncing his body against the seat. Is he angry? Upset? Or dancing vehemently to his favorite song? Snowbanks and buildings hide him from sight.

Two therapists confer beside me about a nameless female client who is battling substance abuse. They role-play questions that will prompt further disclosure, and the older therapist passes on advice to the younger one.

“Has she hit on you yet?” he asks, sipping coffee from a white mug.

“…No? Good, good, that means you’re projecting the right…” and the conversation flows on beside me.

Bobbed blonde and brunette nurses behind me share resources for dementia and scannable online time cards.

“Jerry Fisher” swipes a black ipad at the table beside me and leaves a phone message with his name and number. The world suddenly seems so public and open.

Male teen swishes boy bangs to the side, shifting binders and books more securely into his arm as he crosses the street, talking to brunette girl beside him.

Black shirted Native American art pairs with green and brown camo pants. A three-day beard contours up an angular masculine face, topped by a black fleece hat. He strides into view, then disappears.

Redhead in violet jacket unfolds bulging manilla folders from a stroke association fabric bag. “May I sit here?” she asks Jerry Fisher, still on the phone. Surprised, he nods silent assent and taps the table. “Rachel” on the coffee-cup studies her notes and starts leaving her own phone messages, while Jerry gives his phone number to invisible answering machines.

Stories intersect. Grey clouds climb higher and winter temperatures mount. Snow melts sloshy and car after car pulls into the coffee shop: each car a different story; each indoor square table-top a new tale. Plotlines mingle with each lidded cup. 

And then, just like that, silver Sentras, grey Corollas, and red Ford Focuses pull away, and the stories stream away, trailing in the distance.  

Your story and mine? The Writer knows them too, and is weaving those plot lines. 

(Thankful for a story-writing God.)

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  1. Anonymous on February 18, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Hi…I just want to say how sweet it is that you drop in so often just to say hi. Your kindness doesn't go unnoticed. I am still not sure if blogging will be a part of my life again…but what I do know the community will be….blessings to you~

  2. Jennifer Dougan on February 18, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Ro! How fun to hear from you. Thanks for your sweet note here.

    Have a lovely week,
    Jennifer Dougan

  3. Wise Hearted on February 19, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Are you writing a book my sister? All those plot lines you could build from. HOpe you have had a good day.

  4. Brian Miller on February 19, 2014 at 3:00 am

    yes. the writer does…and as these stories intersect we may not understand how it all comes together….but it does….smiles.

  5. Cheryl Barker on February 19, 2014 at 5:24 am

    So glad God knows us and all of our plot lines each one. Amazing!

  6. Marja Verschoor-Meijers on February 19, 2014 at 10:18 am

    If we would just open our eyes and see… stories are happening all around us, every day!

  7. Floyd on February 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    How I love to watch. And just like you I see a story in each and every soul, because each one is special and is telling a story. We're all writing the stories of our lives. I pray the lost ones might find the Author of their lives and paint the path that leads to Him.

  8. Jayne on February 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    It's amazing how God is not only working out the details of my life, but of others and intertwining them all for His purpose and glory.
    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to read my blog from time to time! I pray for you often!

  9. Brandee Shafer on February 20, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Beautiful writing. Reminded me of why I quit facebook – hee hee. But seriously, doesn't it all feel so overwhelming, sometimes, everything going on all around us? I try to remember to pray for the people in distress (like the guy banging the steering wheel) but can be counted on only when there are ambulances. God bless and xo.

  10. Dolly@Soulstops on February 20, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    ah, what an interesting place a coffee shop can be….and yes, so grateful the Master Writer does know…glad we "met" …blessings, Jennifer )

  11. Jennifer Dougan on February 22, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Hi Betty,

    No, those are plotlines I observed around me at a coffeeshop I get to spend time at once a week. It's fun to people-watch, isn't it?

    Thanks for stopping in,

  12. Jennifer Dougan on February 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm


    So glad he knows. 🙂


  13. Jennifer Dougan on February 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Oh, Cheryl, me too! Thanks for stopping in.


  14. Jennifer Dougan on February 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm


    Nice to have you here. 🙂 Those stories around us are curious, heart-wrenching and exciting, huh?

    May your story be flowing in eddies that excite, comfort, and guide you clearly today too, 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan

  15. Jennifer Dougan on February 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Amen, Floyd. May they, and I encounter the Author of our stories new each day.


  16. Jennifer Dougan on February 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm


    Thank you for your kind encouragement here. Thank you also for your prayers. I welcome them heartily.


  17. Jennifer Dougan on February 22, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Brandee! How fun to hear from you again. 🙂

    I've had friends take time off from fb too. How's that going?

    Praying for people we pass– such a good reminder. I forget that sometimes. There is a man who strode past me yesterday in a hard conversation, it sounded like, in fact that I should pray for… hm. We try to pray for ambulances that pass too.

    Have a great week,

  18. Jennifer Dougan on February 22, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Hi Dolly,

    Thanks for stopping in. Nice to have "met" you online too. 🙂


  19. AmyAlves on February 22, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Jennifer, I haven't visited you in so long girl. I enjoyed your observations of other's and how we all do get to "eavesdrop" so to speak on each other. God sees the BIG picture and I love it when He helps us slow down, think, and look around…and see stories going on all around us! He keeps following our stories even when they go out of view…LOVE that! 🙂 ~Amy

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