I was so angry when we parted ways. My last words to her were mean and spiteful. I lashed out from my own pain and frustration, blaming her for at least part of my misery. Truth is, I was so hurt at the loss of her.
This had been no ordinary friendship. Our connection was most certainly orchestrated by God for we would have never chosen it of ourselves. We began as enemies, but God being God refused to leave us there. He had other plans and I was sure I knew what they were… I couldn’t blame God when all fell apart because, well, He’s GOD. So I blamed her. I blamed her for abandoning me. I blamed her for not following through with the plan. I blamed her because it was easier than looking at myself.
It hadn’t been easy being friends. We had to work at it. I was young and just beginning to learn how God wanted to work in my life when she showed up. Our lives seemed so vastly different and our relationship provoked many a raised eyebrow and questioning look. He used her to teach me so much. I had invested much in this friendship and as I watched it crumble before my eyes, I was heartbroken.
That’s how we left it. We went our separate ways and life continued. Of course, once the anger was spent and joy returned I was sorry my last words to her were so harsh. There are many things that have come and gone in my life that I was able to leave in the past with no regret and no thought of any longer. She was not one of those. She stayed in the back of my mind and a corner of my heart as if something was unfinished.
It’s not that I didn’t think of reaching out to find her. I did. But my pride and my shame won those battles of the mind and will. Besides, I was sure she hated me after the things I had said. Our lives continued to have one common thread yet we managed to remain completely separated for over twenty years…until this summer…
Family was in town and I desperately wanted to see them. As we all know, it’s hard to be everywhere everyone wants you to be when you are the out-of-towners, home for a visit. Finally we see a window of opportunity that can only be filled through the help of my old friend. Hmmm…I must admit, I had butterflies in my stomach as I realized we would finally come face-to-face after all these years.
I haven’t asked her how she felt in those first, brief moments. She seemed at ease, which in turn put me at ease. We visited easily enough, although we were all talking at once, cramming everything we could into the short time we had. When it came time for them to leave she was the last to the door. We embraced and her words spoke to that deep, unfinished thing in me.
“I’ve always loved you.”
That dark corner of my heart felt the warm rays of relief and my soul uttered the deepest praise to God for what was to me a longed-for restoration. I wasn’t finished being her friend.