I have so much on my mind this morning as I bustle around making mental lists of things I need to do before I leave to spend a few days away with a dear friend I haven’t seen in two years. My friend lives in California and has two little ones of her own, ages 2 and 3, and she has decided to come and spend some time with me, just the two of us. I count it an honor and a blessing to have someone who would travel so far leaving those closest to her behind for a few days of special fellowship with me.
Over the course of my life, although I’ve loved many people, there have been few that I have bonded so deeply with as I have with this special girl. Our lives have been so different and lived so far apart, literally all the way from one end of the country to the other, yet our hearts joined in this friendship in such a special and unusual way that has endured through many seasons of life and is still as strong as ever even with limited contact that results from the busy lives we live so very far apart.
God has a way of doing what astonishes us doesn’t He? This friend came to me, literally singled me out, introduced herself in a crowd of people outside a school building at an orientation when my husband had just left me far from home to begin a course of study that would take many months to complete in an environment that was completely unfamiliar and new to me. I had a lump inside my throat that made the old saying “got a frog in your throat” make all the sense in the world! To see that sweet face of my new friend smiling to me and asking my name, clearly intending to befriend me, is a moment frozen in time in my memory. I will never forget the comfort of her presence and that day our walk through the year began. Little did we know the friendship would last far beyond that particular time and place.
As I’ve anticipated my time away from my family for the weekend, I’ve considered just how small my faith can seem when I struggle so at the thought of not looking into the big, bright eyes of my little boy for a few days. Oh me, how weak my fleshly heart can be! God has reminded me that faith, to a large degree, is a choice, that I can trust Him and choose to see the truth that He is the One who ever keeps my son safe, not me. I so wish I were unwavering and one of great faith and I strive for that, pray for that, and hope for that, and then I find myself facing such times as this knowing all too well that there is a doing that must occur. I must put my faith in action, kiss my son and husband good-bye and know that God ordains the steps of us all and has His Hand as surely on me and mine when we are apart as when we are joined together under the same roof.
As I reassure Noah that he will have a good time with Dad while I’m away, that he will be just fine, I know in my heart that I am talking more to myself than to him. Funny how when we are small we think of our parents as these fully adult, mature, grown-ups who have it all securely together only to grow up ourselves and find that inside every adult remains the seed of a child that still faces uncertainties, insecurities, and weakness. Just as those wobbly first steps of a baby leads to strong, sure strides, the walk of faith starts out on shaky limbs and are strengthened by each attempt we make to walk strong and sure.
I’m such a creature of habit, a homebody. There’s really no place I’d rather be than home, but how limited would my life be if I never ventured out into the larger world to live, to learn, and to love? I still find myself amazed, knowing myself as well as I do, I see the miracles to be found in the journeying I’ve already done. For that one year of my life while getting my masters I maneuvered airports, subways, taxis, buses, and trains alone, lugging my books and computer, and other essentials back and forth between here and there. I went to live in a place where I knew no one and “trusted” it would all work out for good because God Himself was surely the orchestrator of it all since the entire experience occurred without even a thought or hint of a thought of instigation on my part. And surely that year brought great healing to my heart and life, hope for a future bright with care, and a friendship that would forever change my heart.
May the coming days be filled with joy and laughter and a love that will further change my friend and me in lasting and contagious ways!