Growing up, I never had a best friend because a) we moved a lot, and b) it never felt safe. (There’s probably a c), d), and so on but that doesn’t change the end result.) I was in my forties before I could honestly say I had one, and that was (and is to this day) Rhonda, my friend from Alaska. We met at church and clicked immediately. She became my discipler, and then I started working in the church office with her. We made a good team–she has the gift of organization and I type like a fiend, lol. Through the ups and downs of church ministry (which could be featured on Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs”!) my admiration for her grew and grew. She is unique, and everybody who knows her would agree with that statement. I believe one of the things makes her unique is her very vibrant and real walk with the Lord. She puts her money where her mouth is and walks the talk, modeling the Christian life as I believe it is intended to be, with a freedom and joy that few know. She always looks for the good in people–and finds it!
She’s been “home” for two weeks and leaves in just a couple of hours to go back to Nome (her real home now). She came to the graduation tonight (which went well), I got to see her for a few minutes and she mentioned about going out for coffee later, so after I was done helping with cleanup and we locked the doors to the church I drove over the mountain and met her at a diner for some soup and coffee (to keep me awake–which is why I’m typing this right now, lol). We shared some more time together and at one point I asked her what it was like to be everybody’s best friend. She laughed, but I was only half joking. When she comes home, everyone wants to see her. The whole conversation got me thinking about friendship.
I know a lot of people whom I would consider friends (though in truth many are more like acquaintances), but you’re blessed if you have even one best friend, someone you can pour your heart out to and know that you’re loved no matter what. Someone who will tell you hard things no matter that it is more difficult for them to do that than it is for you to receive it. Someone who’s a kindred spirit which translated means you can speak to each other without speaking. So yeah, I squeezed out a few more minutes with her but all good things must come to an end and soon I was driving back home. And I cried when I pulled out of the parking lot, a mixture of sadness that I wouldn’t get to see her for a very long time and joy that I’ve been privileged to have had those precious years working beside her and getting to know her. I’m thankful we live in the age of email! At least we can keep in touch–although she informed me that she hasn’t checked her email at all these past two weeks. I told her to let me know how many emails she has when she gets home. I think I’ll wait to email her or it’ll just get lost in the shuffle!