Two twenty-two year old woman. Literally rolling with laughter on (and off) the old smelly blue couch, holding their sides & stomachs because of the pain such uncontrollable bursts of giggling causes. Tears rolling down their cheek, gasping for air. Just as one is about to gain control of her senses and find relief from the madness, she catches the eye of the other and the breathless, gut-wrenching laughter grabs hold once again. Between gasps, they beg the other to stop but the revelry of the moment is being burned into their hearts to be treasured for a lifetime, strengthening their already rock solid friendship. Who knew that Tom Hanks & his money pit had such tremendous power? They don't know where their paths will lead or what the future will hold. They only know that they are at the precipice of their adult lives and that they need to treasure these lingering moments of childish whimsey before they are swept away into the next season of life where uncontrollable laughter over falling bathtubs is nigh unto extinct.I met Connie when I was fifteen. I was about to start my sophomore year of high school. The days were still hot and two-a-day volleyball practices had begun. My friend, K., took up with the new girl and introduced her to me & our friend, M.. Connie was a junior and had previously lived in another small town just 40 miles down the road. She was tall, thin, blond. She was quite nice & fun-loving, and it was natural to include her in our small social group. By the time school was in full swing, the four of us had become our own little clan. Within the group we all had different relationships as duos. M. & I were best friends; but Connie & M. never got incredibly close. And I never had the same connection with K. that M. & Connie did. And although there were varying degrees of connections within our group, we always had a great time together. We goofed around, enjoyed slumber parties, danced, watched movies, and, of course, talked about guys, each other, & the big questions of life. However, over the next few years, (by the time we all had graduated & moved on to college) the dynamics of the group had begun to shift dramatically.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship meetings that I had become heavily involved with and eventually she did. It was at one of those meetings that Connie found Jesus. And that is when our relationship really began to blossom.
While I had been saved at a very young age, college was where I found a passion for Jesus. I became very involved in campus ministry, had so many great Christian friends, and spent so much of my time refining my worldview. So when Connie was born-again and her passion for Christ became evident, it was only natural that our friendship now gained a whole new depth & dimension. We started a weekly prayer meeting together which mostly consisted of just the two of us, and some days we spent a couple hours in my dorm room pouring our hearts out to God together. Those prayer meetings brought such spiritual intimacy and are some of the absolute best times we've had together. So by the end of 2001, Connie & I were extremely close--best friends. Connie had just graduated from college and wasn't sure where to go from there and I was at a place in my education and life-in-general where things just didn't seem to be working out and I was frustrated and needed a break. So I decided to do a full-time internship for a semester. And in January of 2002, Connie & I moved to South Dakota and became roommates. 2002 was a year of transition for both of us. It was an amazing year. Soon after we moved, my boyfriend broke up with me, which was incredibly hard but for the best. Connie & I hooked up with (thanks to M.) an amazing bible study group of young unmarried people that became our life during our time there. It was during our seven months there that we experienced the giggle-fest mentioned above. Our time in South Dakota was a real gift. Not only was it an invaluable experience both in life lessons & spiritual growth but it was a gift to our friendship...our last real bit of time alone together as friends before being led into our separate lives. When my internship ended, I returned to finish school and Connie came with me. By the time I graduated in May 2003, Connie & I were both engaged to be married!
Marriage is a beautiful thing. And it is incredible to me that we both found our spouses simultaneously nearly as soon as we moved back that autumn. Russ & I married in August 2003, and Jim & Connie followed suit a month later. Our new lives had begun, and while still friends to the core...Connie & my friendship would never be the same. We were now wives, and our husbands would naturally take priority. I soon moved to Colorado & Connie moved to Michigan. And while our lives have not left us static, neither has it brought us to living at the same place at the same time...(although ironically we missed living in the same town by a week...she moved away from my current location a week before we moved here. bleh!) She is again living in Michigan and I am here in Nebraska. Because of our distant and busy lives, we barely talk. We are lucky if we see each other once a year for more than a couple hours. And most of our communication is in the form of an email every couple months. But our hearts are forever connected, and she will always be my dearest friend.
Tomorrow is a special day. Tomorrow I will be getting on a plane and getting off where she is. Tomorrow I get to see my best friend. Russ is taking off work to be with the kids and I am going to spend 5 days exploring Connie's world. Soaking up her life. Reacquainting myself with the intricacies of her heart. And hopefully laughing until I cry. Pray for blessings upon this journey. For me....and my best friend. :)