Today, I had a couple of old rolls of film developed. One of the rolls contained pictures I took while on a mini road trip up Highway 1 with my two best friends. It was one of my favorite trips ever. And it lasted less than a day. Our only plan was that we would start in Mill Valley driving up Highway 1. I think these pictures were taken at a beach in Bodega Bay. Serena (at right) and Melinda (below) were my best friends since grade school. I have actually known Melinda since preschool.
We discovered that our friendship is an adult! Well, after high school, Melinda went away to school at UC Davis and Serena and I both stayed home and started at the Santa Rosa Junior College. The ironic thing about what happened next is this: Melinda, the one who moved away, is the one I see more and Serena, who lives only a couple miles from me, and I rarely see each other. Every once in a while I will call Serena, we will talk for about 20 minutes and say "Let's do something," or "Let's get together." And we never do. It's weird. The three of us were rarely apart for at least 6 years that is over 25% of my life (wow!). We shared everything. What happened? Melinda and I talk a few times a month on the phone and we visit each other whenever possible, but it's not the same either. She will always be my BEST friend, but as time has progressed and I expect in the future, I have found myself with other "best friends." Initially, I had a really difficult time calling anyone else a "best friend," but they earned it. Let me tell you about two of my new best friends.
Meredith: In the summer of 2001 (I think) I started going to a new church. We both participated in/helped lead the youth group there. Although I can remember being slightly intimidated by her the first night, we (along with about 4-5 others) became inseparable. I cannot tell you how many movies we went to within the next couple of years, and we even began a "College/Career Bible Study" together--we watched movies and talked about connections to God and the Bible. It was great! In 2003 we spent 6 weeks, visiting 6 European countries, together constantly. It was incredible, but I did find out that you truly must like someone in order to spend so much time with them.
That fall, I drove with her (and all her stuff) down to her new home (apartment) in Pasadena. She has lived down there since, going to grad school. Next weekend I will be visiting and attending her graduation. I'm so proud! I have visited a few times since, but why do all my best friends move away (more about this later)--do I smell?
Jana: Many of you know her. But here is my story with her. Jana was working in another department at my (and her) former place of employment. We could have possibly never spoken to each other, but she happened to come do some work in my department the day she was leaving to go to a friend's wedding in France. I happened to hear someone else talk to her about it and decided to ask her why she was going. I got to share a bit of my experience in Europe and she asked if she could bring me anything. I at first said "no," but later asked her to bring some street artwork (like somebody who sells it on the street). She did and then soon after became the receptionist. One day I walked past reception and heard a Rebecca St James song playing. So, when I got to my desk I e-mailed her this: Are you listening to K-Love? She was, we continued e-mailing and never stopped. She invited me to come to a small group she attended (which was a much needed answer to prayer--I had been praying for God to bring me Godly friends around my age, and at a similar stage in life--I felt so lonely at the time), and I started to go to Saturday night services at her church as well. And then she moved to Nicaragua this January to be a nanny. They all leave! Seriously, do I smell?
My hope is that all of these people (and many more) will be life-long friends. So far we have not fallen out of contact, and I think one of the huge things that binds us together is that we are not just friends, we are Christian friends. And that means we are accountable to each other. We love each other the way Jesus loves us (or at least we try to). And we always will.
Now that you have taken the time to read about my best friends, who is your best friend? Why? I can't wait to read it.
Here is another great thing about Melinda (and many of my "best friends"): she always gets along with all my other best friends. It's a big deal, because so many people have friends that they have to keep separate because they don't get along. This has never been the case regarding Melinda.