Mysterious Ways
By Adam Hunter

Facebook Strangers Share More Than a Name

Today, technologies like Facebook connect people in ways few could have ever imagined. In some extraordinary cases, those ways seem to be aided by some unseen force...

Lael Kershaw Boyd of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, wasn't getting the joy out of decorating for Christmas this year. Her mother had passed away in March, and she was missing her terribly. Lael took a break and went on Facebook.

"With a name like 'Lael,' I’m always excited and interested when I hear or learn of another Lael," she told us. "Where did 'that' Lael get her name?"

That day, she searched for Lael and found one living about about 45 minutes away. She messaged her, never expecting to hear back. But she did:

I know you don't know me, but my name is Lael, also...AND I'M FROM CHARLESTON! Now, how weird is that? It's not like you see or hear our name very often. Just curious how you got your name? Are you from here? Lael Kershaw Byrd . Hello, nice to hear from another 'Lael'. I was born and raised in Moncks Corner, SC where I still reside. I was actually named after a Citadel Cheerleader. In 1972, my father attended a Citadel basketball game and saw the name on a cheerleaders uniform. He loved the name so much he went home and told my mom he had found the perfect name. So that is how I got the name. When I was a little girl, my family and I were having dinner at The Trawler in Mt. Pleasant and we actually meet the mother of the cheerleader. Have you ever met another Lael? Lael Bodiford Ford . Guess who the Citadel cheerleader was/is????!!! IT'S ME! And the person who was working in the gift shop of the Trawler was my mom, Ruth Clinkscales (who passed away unexpectedly March 14th of this year). OMG...I was feeling so depressed trying to decorate for Christmas, and I think she just sent you as a gift to me. No kidding! I remember when this happened. She called me when she got home that night and said, "There was a little girl running around in the gift shop, and I heard someone call out her name, "Lael." Mama said, wait a minute....there's only one Lael and that's my daughter. The young man, told my mom the story about seeing the name on the sleeve of the cheerleader at The Citadel. This is UNBELIEVEABLE! I still have that sweater, but I'm sure it's probably dry-rotted by now! LOL So, Miss Lael...not sure if you know, but the name Lael means "gift from God." You, my dear, just made that more true than you know. You were just sent to me as a gift from God. My faith has just grown 10-fold. If you can see my photos, you can also see pictures of my precious mom. So, from one Lael to another, thank you for answering that crazy message to you. Wow...I still canNOT believe this. And, yes, I have met - and talked with - a couple of Lael's.  My name was the name of an author that my dad found in a book he was reading. Boy, wish my mom was here right now so I could give you the author's last name. But she actually mailed my parents a letter; which I'm certainly going to have to search for now. Evidently my dad wrote to her after naming me after her. Strange how this is coming full circle just when I need it. I'm sitting here shaking my head. I live in Mt. Pleasant and have some very good friends who live in Moncks Corner. Maybe one day we can me meet. Thank you, Lael. (That felt weird to type!) But, truly, thank you. My heart is bursting...a true Christmas gift. (Sorry, I can get a tad mushy!) Tell your dad, and tell him thank you!! Lael Clinkscales (Kershaw) Byrd.

For two people with the same name to find each other on Facebook isn't amazing on its own. But to find the one that was named after you? And what are the chances that the younger Lael would share the story of meeting the other Lael's mother, at the exact moment when the other Lael was missing her mom so much?

A gift from God indeed.

Congratulations to Laurie Savage, winner of the last giveaway of 2010. Laurie will receive the 2010 edition of His Mysterious Ways!

Merry Christmas everyone! I'll be back in the New Year to share more incredible stories of providence, serendipity and kismet that we call Mysterious Ways.

Adam Hunter is a senior editor for Guideposts magazine and Managing Editor for Mysterious Ways. He’s edited Mysterious Ways since October 2006, and is continually amazed by the astounding stories shared by readers. Follow him on Twitter: @MMysteriousWays