Thirty-five years ago I needed a friend. I’d been married for almost three years and had two daughters: Kimberly, not quite two, and Erin, an infant. Three weeks before Erin arrived, I finished student teaching. Credential in hand, I could finally stop being a student and start my real adult life as a wife and mom without the interruption and demand of school.
I was twenty-three years old. I didn’t know any other women my age who had two babies. The newly-wed Sunday school class my husband and I helped start three years earlier kept growing, but we were the only ones with any children. We couldn’t attend the spontaneous weekend gatherings, and I had less and less in common with these young career women.
For the first time in my life I took a risk and called someone I barely knew. You must understand I detest the phone; it scares me, and I avoid using it at all costs. To call someone I didn’t know well, and had never spent time with except for quick hellos when we saw each other in the church nursery, was unimaginable.
But never before had I not had some social outlet: school, work, Girl Scouts, my sorority sisters at UCLA. Now it was hours and hours with just me and two demanding babies. I needed someone who related to my life. My husband was great, but he worked long hours to make ends meet.
I took a deep breath, pulled out my friendliest voice, and dialed.
It took a while, but from that phone call, a friendship bloomed. A friendship unlike any I’d ever had before. Jule graciously invited me to her home for lunch. Her three children, five-year-old,Molly; three-year-old, Sarah, and two-year-old, Jeff played on the swing set with my two-year-old, Kimberly. We talked over our infants, my Erin and her Timmy, while we fed and rocked them.
We took turns watching each other’s kids while one of us went to the market alone. We looked like drill sergeants when we went to the beach with all six kids—but while we kept our eyes on our kids, we laughed and cried and gave each other advice. We baked cookies, made crafts, had birthday parties, took walks, and shared traditions. Jule’s decorating the birthday child’s chair and hanging streamers the night before their birthday became what I did.
The good night song her husband’s family sang, we sang together, and now my grandchildren as well as hers sing it.
Good night, our God is watching o’er you; Good night, His mercy goes b
efore you; Good night, and I’ll be praying for you; Good night, may God bless you.
Most importantly, we prayed with and for each other and our families.
Jule lives five hours away from me now. She has seven grandchildren, and I have three. We both teach full time and are active in our churches. It is hard to find time to get together.
Today Jule was in town, visiting her Southern California family. We spent a perfect afternoon visiting and catching up after two years of not meeting face-to-face. It was exactly what I needed after a difficult school year, moving after twenty-seven years in the same home, and having my dad pass away unexpectedly last week.
When she drove away, Van said, “No matter how long it’s been, you and Jule act like you just talked yesterday.”
Yes. A friendship, a sister-in-Christ-bond, bloomed. God knew I needed a life-long friend. He planted her right beside me for a few years. No matter how many times we are replanted, our friendship keeps blooming.
Today is Five Minute Friday. Thanks always to Lisa Jo Baker for providing this forum for others to pour out their hearts each week.