I’m growing old. Not claiming old yet, but getting there. Let’s just put it out there, I’m 33. I think? 34? …32? …33? Yeah, I’m 33.
I’m picturing the reactions. “Yep. You are old. Really old.”
And at the same time, “No. No. Sweetie, you are still just a baby.”
I like the second reaction better.
There are many negatives about growing old. One is sitting on the swing with your students, pumping your legs back and forth, and soaring through the sky…just to discover that now that just makes you want to throw up.
Another is jumping on the trampoline with your daughter just to discover…well, all the moms know what I am talking about.
But one of the many, yes many, blessings to growing old is having old friends. Danielle and I first met fifteen years ago in college. Memories of dancing the nights away at the Fall Ball, late night runs to Sonic when we were supposed to be studying, summer beach trips …the memories that I have with Danielle are many. From the beginning, she is always someone that I had lots of fun with and, more importantly, someone that encouraged me in my faith.
But, when I think of Danielle, one thing stands out: funny stories always follow Danielle. Some of the craziest, most absurd happenings occur when she is around. Times when you think funny can’t happen, if she is around, just wait for it.
Yeah, example needed. Here is our setting. 2004. I just discovered that I had two tennis ball size tumors in my adrenal glands. Being a newly wed, my faithful new husband is by my side as we embark on this Cancer Journey together. (Oh, you are not laughing yet?)
We have traveled 14 hours from the heart of Florida to Duke University for my first surgery at Duke. I have been fasting for 48 hours (misery), I have been scrubbed down, I have on a surgery gown, I have said my goodbyes and kissed my husband, and I am about to be administered my first dose of anesthesia. (Oh wait!)
The nurse tells me that my pastor is here. Oh, not my pastor, my friend’s pastor. Since Danielle is here with her pastor, they allow her and him to come see me and say a prayer. Danielle and I hug. A new nurse walks in. Demands goodbyes and prepares to take me away for surgery. (Not laughing? Oh…just wait.)
The nurse turns to me, “Sweetheart, Did you take off your panties?”
She takes them and says she will give them to my husband.
Danielle and her husband come to visit James and I. And now:
Danielle tells me that, as I am wheeled into surgery, the nurse comes running after her and her pastor, “Stop! Wait!” She turns to him, “Sir, let me give you these.” And proceeds to hand THE PASTOR, that I JUST MET FOR THE FIRST TIME, my panties!!! Please! I never want to see the guy…ever again!
So, even surgery, with Danielle, can be a humorous event!
We don’t get to see each other that often. But God has it that she lives close to where we travel to visit my doctor. And fifteen years ago, when we were laying in her dorm room daydreaming about the future, we never would have guessed that we would be bridesmaids in each other’s weddings. We never would have guessed that we would have pictures of Madison and Bennett together when they were just babies. We never would have guessed that year after year that group would grow to include Madison surrounded by three friends, adding Eden and Mercy. We never would have guessed that our daughters could say they’ve been friends their entire lives. And I never would have guessed I would owe so much to Danielle and her family.
Friends that open their door to you at any time. Friends that after a year or two of seeing them, and we hang out, and never miss a beat. Old friends that will be friends …until we are friends that are also old. Friends that challenge me to be what a friend really is.
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