Monday, July 21, 2014

Bosom Buddies

"A man of many companions may come to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
                                                                                       Proverbs 18: 24
 
True friends are as rare as lightning in a blizzard—and just as dazzling.

I'm friendly.  I can talk to a total stranger and hopefully make them feel at home. I can negotiate the proper party mingle, and can even be quite witty with a plate of cheese and crackers in my hand.  But as far as enjoying many deep down bosom-buddy friendships?  Only a few have brightened my life.

When I lived in Nebraska I had one particularly good friend, Katie.  She and I met while we were both appearing in the chorus of "Annie" at the community playhouse. Within minutes of meeting each other we fell into the easy rhythm of lifelong friends. We listened, we laughed, we gave advice, and kept secrets.
But then, after seven years of friendship, I moved to Kansas.And I missed her. She was as bad a letter writer as I was, so we made due with a few visits and phone calls (this was in the olden days—before emails and Facebook.)  Without contact, we drifted apart.

One day, feeling rather sorry for myself, I prayed that God would bless me with another bosom-buddy friend.  I knew I was asking a lot, and I was pretty much resigned to having a life full of numerous acquaintances but few sisters when  . . . the name "Katie" popped into my head. 

"No, God.  Not Katie in Lincoln.  A new friend, here in Kansas."

I didn't think about my prayer until two weeks later when I went to a Christian writer’s group for the first time.  It was a wonderful evening. Their openness and willingness to talk about how they had experienced God working in their lives was true inspiration.  After the main meeting, when we sat around drinking iced tea and eating goodies, I found myself next to a woman who had the most beautiful freckled skin and red hair.  And when she smiled . . .  We got along famously, our laughter and camaraderie drawing the envied notice of other members.  "You two act as if you've known each other forever."  That's what it felt like.  Friends forever.
I went home thrilled to have found a new friend.  The next day I wrote her a note, taking a risk by exposing my hopes that our friendship would grow and even putting myself on the line further when I recounted my prayer for a best friend.  I sent the letter, feeling foolish, vulnerable—and hopeful.  Oh, well.  If nothing came of it, I wouldn't be any worse off than I was before.
Katy McKenna and me

A few days later, she called.  My note had made her day. We met for lunch and talked for two and a half hours over burgers and fries.  To have a friend I could talk to about God and family and writing . . . she was truly an answer to prayer.
And not surprisingly . . .

Wait for it . . .
Her name was Katy.

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