A girl in my middle school (way back when!) had Spina Bifida and some other physical issues. As you can imagine, kids were mean. She had very few friends and was shunned by a lot of the class. She was my friend.
For 3-4 years, we hung out together a lot. She threw me a going away party before my teen mission trip. I went downtown to a big fancy restaurant with her and some other girls for her 16th birthday. I can’t even remember what all we did together, but we had fun. The one day that sticks out most in my mind is the field trip to the zoo. She couldn’t have walked it, so she was in a wheelchair and I pushed her all over the zoo. And, of course, jumped on the back and rode down the hills. We had a ball.
Somewhere in high school, we grew apart. I don’t know exactly what happened. There was no big disagreement or anything, we just went separate ways. And after high school, we completely lost contact. I remember looking her up once and visiting her at her apartment after she got married. She was so happy. She was living her best life.
Then, several years ago, I remember reading that she had died. A year before I found out. I couldn’t go to the funeral. I was too late. I have always regretted the way our friendship ended and wished I had done more. Every so often, the regret creeps up and catches me again.
Fast forward to last Friday night.
We went to the adoption party for a new friend of mine who finally was able to complete the adoption of the son she has had as a foster child since he was 9 months old. In walked, the mom of my long lost friend.
It took her a while to figure out who I was. When it finally clicked, (with a shocked look on her face) she said, “Are you…”
I finished it for her. I always expected her to be angry with me over the friendship that melted away. Instead she threw her arms around me and started introducing me to all these people as her daughter’s best friend in high school. She was overjoyed. I was overcome. She proceeded to tell me how she knows my new friend (who just adopted). Not only did they teach at the same school for many years, but she and my friend’s mom were college roommates. So their families grew up together and were/are incredibly close.
My new friend stood up in my lost friend’s wedding.
My new friend is an amazing woman who loves the Lord and is full of life. She is so fun and so caring. All I can feel is God’s grace, saying it’s ok. Sometimes friendships don’t last and look, she had this other girl all along. She wasn’t alone.
I can hardly breathe for the beauty and grace of it all.
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