Today, this best friend of mine celebrates a milestone birthday! I don’t remember when our friendship started, because when we first met, it was as if we’d known each other forever. Our lives overlapped in 2004 for about 6 years, and our husbands can attest to the fact that from the beginning, we were inseparable. We worked at the same place, our husbands worked at the same place, we went to the same church, and our husbands went to the same seminary keeping similar hours of constant study, which left us to spend almost every waking moment together.
We scoured Salvation Army, finding the World Market chairs (new with tags!) still flanking our dining room table today. We got our first Christmas decorations from Big Lots, shared coffee, chicken pot pie soup (Zoup!), Jimmy Johns subs, and Cold Stone ice cream.
We’ve shared news – happy and heartbreaking, due dates, maternity clothes, pregnancy weight, groceries, errands, housework, frustrations over women’s inequality in the world and patriarchy in the church, Simeon Trust principles, writing dreams, parenting hurdles, and the challenges of following after these husbands of ours wherever they choose to go. Through it all, you have lived the words you said to me during one of the biggest struggles of my life, “You don’t have to carry this alone. I’m going to help you through.” You did and you do, and I don’t know where I’d be without the lifeline of your friendship then or now.
You were there for me rejoicing in 2004, with my first pregnancy when you wanted one of your own.
You were there for me in 2005, when I was a new mom and so sick with c diff, in and out of the hospital, reminding me of Milton’s words, “Those also serve who only stand and wait.”
You were there for me, watching Stella in 2006, when I came crumbling and crying into our house from the hospital after my pregnancy loss, the bitter providence of the due date we surprisingly shared.
You were there for me in 2007, the night before you moved to Chicago (for the first time), when we stayed up talking literally all night, drinking coffee and reminiscing.
After God reunited us in MI in 2010 for another 4 years, you were there for me when it was our turn to move. You provided us with a place to pillow our heads our last night in MI, seeing us off the next morning with a hearty breakfast, joy in God’s leading, but sorrow knowing that this move would take us further apart for good.
But, you’ve still been there for me every Voxer message since, and every summer visit since, when we stuff a years worth of catch up into a never long enough 48 -hours floating around our pool.
I am so thankful for you, Charisse, and these 40 years God has given you. I’ve shared almost half of your life with you, attesting to the fact that his promise is certain. He IS completing the good work he started in you. So, here’s to another year (or 40!) of his continued grace to you. Happiest Birthday yet, my friend!