The bus ride there was, in a word, torturous. Though I got to sit next to the girl that would become my friend, and be my roomie during the trip, her company alone wasn't enough to make up for the craziness going on behind me. From the time we left home until about dawn, the person behind us was a constant source of noise and irriation. First, she was on her cell phone the entire time. Second, she packed all of her belongings in styrofoam containers and plastic bags...and dug in them while talking loudly on the phone. It was the equivalent of Charlie Brown's teacher talking to Fran Drescher while simultaneously running their nails on a chalkboard...for SIX hours!
I'm not exaggerating.
Little did I know, or in that moment care that my new friend was having a struggle of her own. Her soon-to-be fiance was sitting next to another woman, talking and enjoying himself. She wanted him to be sitting next to her, but due to the overnight nature of the trip, thought it best if they did not. Hearing him chatting and laughing with someone else was difficult for my friend. Had I not been so wrapped up with chatty polystyrene girl, and the guy I wished was sitting next to me, I could have done more to distract and encourage her.
Thankfully, though, my new friend didn't hold my selfishness against me, and less than a year later I joyfully cried at her wedding.
She and her husband are now expecting their third child.
From the moment I met my friend, she as been an encouragement to me. She is one of the calmest people I know. And, regardless of my state, she never fails to find a way to empathize with me and point me to the Lord. I also have a tendency to talk a lot, but she never seems to grow tired of me.
There must be something profoundly wrong with her...or profoundly right.
Finally, she got married shortly before her 35th birthday. I am 36. My mind keeps telling me my chances at marriage were over at 28...but my friend shows me that with God all things are possible. His faithfulness to answer prayer has no time limits.
All these years later, I am both grateful and amazed that we even became friends in the first plce. That night on the bus, I was an obsessive, angry, impatient, depressed, selfish mess...and yet she extended friendship to me...and continues to do so.
I don't get it, but I am thankful.
She and her family were the first guests in my week of visits. They arrived shortly after dinner time. When kids are involved, there isn't much room for adult conversation, so I had a great time watching her adorable, hilarious babies run around and play and laugh and do "ta da" (their newest special trick with their daddy).
It was wonderful.
Their kids are two of the most joyful babies I've ever seen. My favorite thing is when they get excited and run around screaming. It's great! Loud, but great!