They Never Left My Side

Originally written February 10, 2012

I am thanking God for girlfriends today!  One of my BFF’s, Michelle, sent me a picture with two little girls on the beach ^^^.

Michelle has been there through THICK and thin.  We are talking T.H.I.C.K. and oh-so-t.h.i.n.  I would not have made it through nursing school or this last year as a “beginner” without her.  Shoot, I wouldn’t be a beginner if she hadn’t got me my job. I cannot count the number of ledges she has gently persuaded me down. Oh my.  When one of us didn’t understand something, the other one explained.  When sticks and stones were thrown in close proximity, the other stood guard with a shield.  When one of us didn’t possess the capacity to go any further, the other just picked up the slack and got the job done. It didn’t matter who got the credit.  We prayed each other through the bumps in the road and we jumped from the rooftops in sync when success came our way.  We embody  “NEVER LEFT YOUR SIDE.”

As I pondered this image knowing I would use it for a contemplation, I thought about my dear friend, Ashley.  We’ve known each other since we were seven.  That’s only 39 years ago.  I didn’t just say that, did I?  Sorry, Ash.  We grew up in the same hood – if you could call Coral Reef Estates a “hood”.  Oh, the stories I could tell or better yet, the stories Ashley could tell.  Here I go – telling you about the time when we were in elementary school and Ashley bit me.  I made my mom call her mom to make her say she was sorry.  Let it be known that Ashley has never let me live that one down.  I remember my granddad taking us to cheerleading practice in the back of his pick up truck (that sounds like a country song in the making and no we weren’t breaking any laws). Then there’s the day we got scolded for walking five feet behind her mom at the mall (who could blame us – she was wearing a moo moo and we were in Jr. High).  I remember the crank calls we made all over Miami the night we found out the numbers to the phone booths were just a digit off from each other.  I recall the boating weekends in the Florida Keys with her family like they were yesterday and our “monumental” trip to Washington, DC.  I loved the night she surprised me by showing up at a fraternity party in Plymouth, NH circa 1988 (she went to school in Schenectady, NY).  And then there was the day we “bumped” into each other in an antique shop in Savannah, GA – we were both on vacation unbeknownst to each other – I lived in Tampa and she lived in DC.  Over the years, we have shared life together – we have shared our families, our faith, the ups and the downs, we have shared our fair share of tears, we have lent each other hope, shared yummy meals and slumber parties.  We have bickered like sisters sometimes do. We have let each other down and we have carried each other over the molehills that felt like mountains. We’ve known each other at our best and our worst.  She is my champion.  I am hers.  We have never left each other’s side.

My heart is all warm inside just pondering the power of girlfriends.  Do you have friends like this?  I sure do hope so.

Now that you have the “back story” I want to share this “power of girlfriends” moment with you.  I told you about Michelle sending me this email with the image attached.   It got me to thinking about those girls who have come alongside of me and specifically Ashley.  Last Wednesday night I was driving home from work and “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King came on the radio.  Guess who I think of when I hear that song? That’s right – Ashley.  I instantly thought, “I should call her and tell her how grateful I am for our friendship and how much I love that we get to journey alongside of each other in this life.”  My next thought was “it’s late” in Annapolis.  I’ll call her tomorrow.  But then that still small voice inside of me said, “NO – call her NOW!”  I decided to heed the urging – Ashley is always up late.  I called.  She answered.  “Wow, you answered.”  She’s not usually a johnny on the spot answer on the first ring kind of girl.  She replied, “I know, huh?  I saw your number and knew in my heart that God had sent you to call me.”  Wow!  She shared that she had been struggling.  She confessed that if I had called on any day prior she probably wouldn’t have answered.  But on this day, a spark of hope had ignited and she welcomed my call.  I marveled at how I got to be the dose of encouragement she needed at just that moment in time to see her through the HUGE decision she made earlier that day.  We both felt the blessing.

Can I please say WOW, again?  WOW.  I could have easily taken the road “Not Called.”  I know this because I sometimes do.  That’s why I’m writing today.  I want to inspire you to listen to the still small voice when it whispers.  I want you to pick up the phone and call that girlfriend.  I want you to stop by her house on the way home.  I want you to give her a hug in the hallway of our cubicles.  Often times, lots of times, we get caught up in the minutia.  We neglect to take those sacred moments that can mean so much to our friend on the receiving end.  Just ask Ashley.  From my vantage point, my heart still overflows just thinking about it.  That’s good stuff right there!

Basking in the sacred moments,