JennyNovember 19, 2010
She was my best friend. Pretty sure she was the best friend I’ve ever had. I am older now and making new and deeper friendships, and had she lived, and had we reconnected, we would certainly be the epitomy of earthly friendship.
But let me explain.
We met at 19. Two young, immature, (THIN), fun girls, crazy for Jesus and crazy for each other. WE-JUST-CLICKED. From day-one. It didn’t matter that the controlling church in which we met tried to rule our lives and the limits of our friendship, somehow we found a way around and through that. It was a weird and wonderful time.
Then she moved. Away. To California. And left me there in Hawaii. I pretended to be happy for her. But I was devastated. She was pregnant, I had an infant. She had to go; I had to stay. Serving in the military is like that. Hard. We were in the Air Force, they were in the Army. (She was with me when my daughter was born. And I mean WITH ME. Friends do that.)
So fast forward a couple of years. My husband and I leave the military and take a job with an airline company in the San Francisco Bay Area, near Jenny and her family. It’s a GOD THING. We reconnect. Our kids grow up together, are homeschooled together, in and out of each other’s cars and houses. We attend the same church. We are once again inseparable.
Then the unthinkable happens. People who you think are “good” are not. Leaders in the church twist things; manipulate. It’s not right, hopefully it doesn’t occur often, but it happens. And it happened to us. It happened to me and it was me.
Here’s the great regret in it all: As close as we were, we let the “authority” of the church dictate the way in which we responded (or more correctly, did not respond) to each other. She believed one thing and I believed another and neither one of us felt like we could just pick up the phone and say, “WTH?!?!?” Now: I wish I would have. I SO WISH I WOULD HAVE!
I missed out. On a lot. Not only the high school years of our daughters together, the maturing of ourselves as sisters in Christ and aging physically, but the final knife: Her illness and early passing, of which I had no part. After she moved on to a better place I heard later that some old “friends” were “there” for her in her last weeks, but she wished they weren’t; I heard that she had a different perspective on things. Rumors only to me now: I have to wait to see her in a few years to really know.
But the weeks I was out of town while she was suffering, while her memorial service was held, were very conflicting for me. I wanted to see her while she was alive. I wanted to honor her after her passing. But so many “others” were in the way. I hadn’t yet fully known or understood what caused the canyon between us.
Then came FaceBook. And some mutual friends with whom I reconnected, who set me straight on more than a myriad of things; more things than (to this day) I can fathom. It is so sad that we believe things that aren’t true. It is so sad that we assume things that aren’t so. It is so sad that we don’t ask, seek, probe, learn, love. I lost because I did not do these things. Neither of us did these things.
Yet one thing I know: I will see Jenny again. We will likely hold each other tight, but not so tight that we cannot dance with delight. And all the while we will laugh: The kind of laughter that rarely happens between friends but often happened between us. I remember it well and I hope to repeat it often in the eternal years to come and the friendship ultimately sustained because God is GOOD and He knows we should have always been friends. And, I really think He liked the sound of our laughter.
Jenny: I would say that I love you more than you could ever know, but you now know more than I ever could. So, I will just say that I love you, and I am sorry.