Nothing surprises me anymore. Over the last few years I have learned a lot about myself. I've learned to roll with the punches life throws at you; I've learned to let things roll off my back; I've learned to pick my battles; I've learned that I'm not very good at making decisions; I've learned that it's okay to step outside my comfort zone; I've learned that it's important who my inner circle consists of; I've learned that you have to forgive people, but that doesn't mean you have to like them and continue to surround yourself with them; I've learned that God loves me and will show me grace even in my sinful selfishness; I've learned that I am happiest when I walk through life holding God's hand; I've learned that no matter what happens here on earth, that Christ is holding me and my children in the palm of His hand; and I've learned that friendships can blossom out of the most peculiar situations.
Mary and I were friends in ninth and tenth grade. You know that tumultous time as teens when you are learning to drive, liking boys, and trying to find yourself and your own identity? I remember Mary and I driving around, gossiping, drinking, and actually spying on another girl whom she thought liked her boyfriend. Yes, Mary and I were connected at one point in our lives. That point ended when my high school combined with hers. For whatever reason, she no longer viewed me as a friend, or treated me as one. Perhaps we just grew apart like some people do. Perhaps there were cooler, prettier, more popular people she wanted to be friends with. Perhaps we were just immature. Perhaps she fell in love with a boy and was consumed with him for most of her high school career. Young love does that to you. Who knows. The point is we grew apart. It happens.
Fast forward almost twenty years. I had not talked to Mary since 1991. Life took us our different ways. It wasn't until I reluctantly
signed up for Facebook that I heard from Mary via a friend request. I thought it a bit odd that she would send me a "friend request" for many reasons. The first and biggest is that I am married to that boy she used to love. That boy she used to be consumed with. Ironic, eh? At first I wondered about her motives. Was she sending me a friend request because she wanted to reconnect again as friends? Or was she wanting to know how Chad turned out? I admit, I was cautious. But like I said before, over these last few years I have learned that if you don't step outside of your comfort zone, you will miss what great plans God has in store for you. I accepted that friend request, and I am glad I did.
Whatever the initial reasons were that Mary sent me a friend request are neither here nor there. I will never know, and I really don't care. What I do know is that somehow, Mary and I are now reconnected as friends
friends. We can put that silly awkwardness of me being married to her old boyfriend behind us and get back to the connection we once had as teenagers, only better, and more real. Mary and I are not only connected via Facebook, but spiritually. Nobody reading this will understand that, but I know she does. She gets it. Yes, I've learned a lot over the last few years. I've learned to grow up, and value real friendships, even if they originated outside your comfort zone, even if they come out of the most uncanny places.