I have made many friends in my 36 years on this earth. Some were friends for a long time and some were friends for a short time. All of them brought something different into my life. Many of them gave me something special and have added goodness to me I might not have had otherwise.
Out of all the friends I have had in my life I have never made friends as close as the friends I made as a child. We all have friends that we “grew up with”. Those friends are the ones that go back to our roots. The ones that know where we came from because they came from there too.
As we grow older we all grow apart. Some of our parents moved us away. Some of us went off to college. Some of us stayed around and never left this town. Regardless of where life has led us we all have jobs and families and grown-up responsibilities that keep us from each other. It’s sad but it’s true.
A few days ago I had a chance to meet up with one of my first best friends. She would be too modest to tell anyone what a phenomenal influence she was in my life… so I would like to do that now.
Monica was a year ahead of me in school. She lived one street over from me growing up and we started hanging out sometime around middle school. She was the third child of four and with her two older sisters off to college and married she pretty much raised her little brother when her parents had to work.
We had a lot of fun together. Her family were the first ones to take me to church. Monica’s mother was a hard-working nurse and a woman deeply rooted in her faith. Her father was a funny guy. He nicknamed me Jennifer and that would name would stay with me for the rest of the time I knew him.
I was sad a few years ago to hear he had passed away. I visited Monica and her mother before his memorial service. It hardly seemed like enough tribute to pay considering what Monica did to visit me when my father passed.
My dad’s visitation would be two days before Christmas in 1998. Monica had already married and moved to Evansville by then and I hadn’t talked to her much since then. When she heard about my father’s death she made plans to come to and see me.
I was sitting alone in the back row of the parlor at the funeral home watching people come in and out. I spotted Monica and she came straight to me. I was so happy to see my friend. She had worked that day and after work she had locked her keys in her car.
It was snowing and sleeting outside when she made the trip from Evansville to see me. A drive that would take about about two hours on a good day. If my memory serves me right her heat was also on the fritz. I will never forget what she overcame just to see me and to make sure that I was okay.
As teens we would cruise the mall. That was the thing to do in our town at the time. I don’t know how many circles we made around that place. We would spend hours in her bathroom spraying our hair up just as tall as we could get it. Make-up would take just as long.
We never missed a church night. Our youth group was fun. Monica volunteered one night a week to watch children at the church for a group of military wives who would meet to pray for their husbands while they were deployed. Sometimes I would go to help her. She always had a heart for kids. It is no surprise to me that she now has four of her own and takes care of her niece and nephew as well.
Monica lived her life by biblical standards even as a teen. She counseled me many times and helped me to choose to do right over wrong. There were times I didn’t listen or I didn’t seek her advice at all but regardless what I chose to do she was still my friend anyway. She loved me unconditionally. She was able to love me many times even though I wasn’t able to love myself.
After school many days we would go to her house to watch the Young and the Restless and eat Oreos dunked in milk. When one of their characters (Marlena) became possessed a demon that was pretty much the end of interest for me.
We would do homework sometimes in the afternoons. Monica struggled to help me understand algebra but sadly to this day I still don’t. It wasn’t for a lack of trying.
We spent hours and hours talking about the ins and outs of daily life and dreaming about the future. Those times spent with her were some of the best of my life. I have her to thank for contributing to my salvation and for helping me to develop the very foundation of my faith.
She was my first BFF and aside from my husband she will likely be my last. I treasure the sweet time I had with her all those years ago and I look forward to my life as my friendship with her continues to grow.
If you have a BFF make sure you tell them how much you love them. Pray for them daily. Take the time to reminisce with them when you can. None of us has a promise of tomorrow but we do have the love that God has given us to give to others for today.
I love you, Monica!