Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Best of Friends

"It’s a reminder that the deepest friendships of life survive even when you don’t have the advantage of proximity."

I read this line today on someone else's blog and it reminded me of our friends Jonathan and Tara. I met Tara before either of us had kids. She came to our young adult group at church on a Sunday night. I liked her immediately, but what really impressed me was that she was willing to go out to eat with us after the service. I'm quite sure I wouldn't have been brave enough to go out to eat with a bunch of people I had just met, especially crazy people like us!! But she did. I remember we drove to one restaurant and they were closed so we piled back into our cars and crossed Broad Street to Bennigans. She stayed right with us, even though I was sure she'd give up and go home.

When we met Tara, she claimed she was married, but I'm pretty sure it was several months before we actually met Jonathan in person. We did a lot of teasing her about that. Jonathan was doing his residency and he worked a lot! I mean a lot! Even after we finally met him, we didn't see him nearly as often as we would have liked, because he was always at the hospital. Or sleeping.

Jonathan and Tara were the kind of friends that you could call at the last minute and they'd want to do whatever you were asking. We'd call them and meet for icecream. Or we'd call them and watch a movie. Or we'd call them and just hang out. We were in the same Bible studies and we went out to eat most Sunday nights. Even after Brenna was born, they still hung out with us all the time. A squalling baby didn't scare them off!

But residency doesn't last forever. And while this was good news for them, it wasn't for me. Jonathan had a job offer from here. But he also had one from the city where their families live. Home. And how does here ever compete with home? This was one prayer of mine that God answered with a No. I had prayed so hard that they would stay here. But the No was firm. And I took it like a 2 year old who has missed her nap.

We were all gathered for Bible study at Robb and Belinda's. I remember Jonathan standing behind Tara and saying he had an announcement to make. My heart began to beat faster and I felt the adrenaline flood my system. I was excited and scared to death all in one. And when he said they had made their decision, that they'd be moving home...he had accepted the other job... well... I couldn't stop the flow of tears. I quietly slipped out of the house and went for a walk. I had my temper tantrum and when I was able to compose myself, I went back in to attempt a congratulations.

In all honesty, I didn't think our friendship could hold up over the miles. I dreaded their moving day. I dreaded it so much that I talked Michael into us going with them that day! All the way to South Carolina! I was really putting off the goodbye. I knew that. But I'm so glad we went. We got to meet their families and we got to see their new home. Both of these eased the goodbye more than I could ever put into words.

It's been about four years since they moved. They've come here to visit twice and we've been there once. The biggest and best surprise for me has been how easy our friendship has continued, even grown. We don't talk every week, but we're there when we need each other. They have one little girl and another on the way, so we're always asking each other for parenting advice. And when we get together, it's like we'd never been apart! I love that!

So when I read that quote at the top, I felt its truth so deeply. I have friends like that. The best of friends, if you ask me!

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