“Our relatives are the family that we are born with, our friends are the family we choose.”
“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though they know you are slightly cracked.”
“Through life we suffer. Through friends we never have to suffer alone.”
It was my freshmen year in college. First night on the hall. I was pretty much freaking out. It was my first time away from home, at least that’s what it felt like. I had just said good-bye to my sobbing parents and siblings. The night before that I had had to say good-bye to my boyfriend. This was a pretty big deal for us all. I was already terribly homesick.
I had just taken my first shower in a ‘public’ shower, flip flops and all. I was ready to crash after a long and emotionally exhausting day. But my social roommate had other plans. “Let’s go meet our neighbors.” So with my towel looking like a turban we went across the hall to say ‘hi’.
Erin and Rebecca were the two who opened the door. They were pajama clad too. Rebecca noticed mine right away. “Are those Victoria’s Secret?” she asked me. “Yeah!” I said. “I thought they looked familiar. I work at the one in the Mall…”
And so begun an almost 11 year (and going) friendship. Has it really been that long?????????!
We weren’t close friends at first. We were both so different. Me, the pushy loud mouth and Rebecca, the full of grace ‘southern bell’ as we liked to call her. But we began to wear off on each other I think. She began to toughen up some and I’d like to think I softened a bit.
She was a bridesmaid in my wedding. For the bridesmaid’s gifts I really wanted to give each one something different. Something that represented our friendship more than a necklace or earrings. So I thought long and hard about each one.
For Rebecca I decided to make something. It had to be colorful and mean something. I settled on an embossed stamp. I’m not going to be able to describe it to you. But it really turned out pretty, just take my word for it! Here was the inscription:
A Reassuring presence, a light
when times are dark, a hand reaching out
is what Friendship is all about
At first I thought it might be a little corny. I had a hard time deciding if I liked it. But God knew that one day I would look at that and be reminded of His provision.
It wasn’t until about 5 years ago that things started to get tight – with us I mean. I was really going through a difficult time in my life. I was seeing a counselor and he encouraged me to talk to a friend about what was going on in my life. Self-righteously I told him, I have no one. There is no one in my life who I could share THESE things with. In his very ‘counselor’ way he told me that was ridiculous, surely
you have a friend with whom you could share THESE things with, so find one and find one fast.
I was mortified. How could I possibly tell someone THESE things about me. These were my dark and dirty. Who I truly was. No one would love me after they knew… I went back and forth in my head and the name that kept coming to mind was my Cola friend – Rebby.
So I called her on my way home. I knew that if I waited any longer I would chicken out. I was almost home when I finally dialed her number. I said, I need to come up this weekend, I need to talk to you face to face. She said that was fine, so we decided on that Saturday.
We went to lunch, which I ate none of. Once I started talking I couldn’t stop. I told her everything. And then I braced myself for it, whatever ‘it’ was. Either she as going to pass out, throw up, or ditch me. Thankfully she did none of those. She calmly responded in her very gracious manner. I know she said a lot that day that got my attention. But one thing sticks with me to this day.
“Mika’l,” she said, “I will support you and be there for you no matter what you do. I am your friend. But what you are doing is wrong.”
Just as simple as that. I love you, but you are wrong.
It was exactly what I needed to shock me back into reality.
There were many, many dark days after that for me. She was there for every single one of them. There are no words to express my gratitude and thankfulness to God for His provision during that time up through the present. She has been a huge encouragement to me in so many ways. I have also had the privilege of walking along on some of her hard roads as well. It’s what we do.
This is for you, my friend. I love you with all my heart and don’t know what I would do without you by my side. No matter where life takes us, I pray our journey through life always includes each other. I just don’t know where I’d be without you. So thanks R.