Four years ago this morning, I made what has to be one of the worst birthday phone calls ever. I had to call the Queen of Birthday Celebrations and tell her that our friend, our heart sister, Nattie, went home to Jesus on Cheri's day. Through our tears I remember her saying, "Well, doesn't it just seem like Nattie to try and out-shine me on my own birthday." It does.
Years have passed since then. I remarked to another friend today, as we reminisced our own Nattie day conversation, that it seems a lifetime of days and events since that early morning phone call.
Birthday Queen Cheri and I shared many late night IM chats and emails and giggles, and even a, then rare, face to face meeting in which she never had her shirt completely on for the entire weekend, and to which she brought the plague ( WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FROM HERE?!?!?) before and after that heartbreaking birthday.
You know how some people aren't just your friends, or even your close friends, they are like a mirror of yourself. The things they say are the things you would say yourself. The paths their thoughts take are the ones your own thoughts are comfortable traveling. You share not only a season of life, but a sameness of being. An intimacy develops not because that person is better, or more fun or more anything. It simply happens because sometimes they are you-ier than you are yourself.
But sometimes life happens. Sometimes, in fact, life truly implodes. Sometimes even your personal mirror image is collateral damage when those changes happen. Chalk it up to life, or my stupidity, or woundedness. Whatever the reason, our lives diverged, suddenly and completely.
Her life shattered and, in completely dissimilar yet eerily like ways, mine did too.
My sweet friend Christie asked me, while we were together in Florida a few weeks ago, who from our old church I was still close with from before our leaving. After a moments consideration, I had to answer, "No one." I have relationships that have formed since that time, but there is no one close from there that made the leap from then to now. Like I said, when life implodes, collateral damage happens.
But God is so good. Always so good. After a time of healing and rebuilding, He gave back a piece from before...the one piece that could fit back into place with no effort at all. Like sliding on your own skin. He gave me back the Birthday Queen, the piece of me I missed more than any other.
There are many relationships and pieces of my heart that have moved on, in this world and the next. Some I look forward to reuniting with at Marriage Feast (I've already put in my request for a specially saved seat), and some I've let fade, at peace that all things of this earth are temporary, and that God can restore that which He wills. But today, I'm especially grateful that He chose to give one piece back. If all else is lost, it is enough. More than enough.
Happy Birthday, Queen Cheri. You make my life better. I plan to be vying for the position of God's favorite until we're both too old to remember why we even started competing. I love you, for whatever time we have here, and then for eternity beyond...with purple sparkly toes and tiaras made of real gold and jewels of priceless worth.