This past Sunday brought a sweet reunion with a friend I hadn’t seen for six years. It was wonderful! Our "lunch" together stretched into several hours of “catching up.” (Truth is, we could have kept on talking, but dinner was fast approaching!)
Angela and I met waaaaay back in 6th or 7th grade at church. She was the first girl who befriended me there. I actually remember thinking she was really pretty and wondering if she was nice. I was so happy to discover she was in fact, nice and she wanted to be my friend. = ) (Something else I vividly remember was her incredibly cool "I'm a Pepper” shirt…LOL).
We were different in as many ways as we were alike, yet still became great friends. Throughout middle school, we went to GA’s and Sunday school together, and though we attended rival high schools, went to youth group together, as well. We shared phone chats, mission trips, youth choir, sleepovers and double-dates. We were there for one another’s weddings, worked and carpooled together, shared countless conversations over lunch and breakfast and walked with one another through some difficult journeys. As life continued on, there were sometimes weeks or months between contacts, but we’d always pick up right where we left off.
A few years back, as Brennan was heading into high school and we were in the midst of caring for Tom’s Aunt Helen, Angela had a new baby, and not long thereafter her family moved out of the immediate area. For the first time, we lost touch with one another. A year or so later, she contacted me by e-mail asking if we could get together. It was an especially challenging time. Between Aunt Helen's increasing needs, work, Brennan's activities and assisting in youth group, we felt stretched to our limit. I planned to write her and explain that though I'd love to see her, it was a really bad time, but I kept putting it off. Weeks turned into months and then months to years. I truly missed her and wondered how she was doing, but felt ashamed for never getting back to her, and then for letting all that time slip by with no contact.
A couple of years ago, I joined Facebook and began hearing from some old high school friends. By now, life had settled down substantially and I was truly hoping Angela and I would cross paths. I searched for her (on Facebook) several times, with no success. Then, last month, I returned from vacation to find a "friend request” waiting. It was from ANGELA!!! I was thrilled. Immediately I wrote to her and we began “catching up.” It broke my heart to learn that all that time, she thought I was upset or angry with her. I assured her nothing could be further from the truth. We immediately began planning for our reunion lunch and set the date. I literally couldn’t wait.
Our time together on Sunday was great, just as I had hoped. She is such a treasure. I sat across the table from her as we reminisced and shared with a renewed appreciation for her dear friendship. How I had missed her (especially her laugh!) I'm now more determined than ever to cherish her and our friendship in the years to come.
I headed home from our lunch with a full and grateful heart. Grateful she cared enough to search for me and make contact again, and especially to the God who knit our hearts together all those years ago.
"Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure." Jewish Proverb.