Wednesday, January 7, 2009


One of the nicest parts of the past few weeks has been some emails I've exchanged with a dear old friend from college. During my sophomore year at the University, we were the best of friends. We worked together, were in the same major, and spent the majority of our waking hours together. In addition to that, I was in love with him. He was my first real love, and I spent many a free moment in that year imagining a life as Mrs. Dear Friend.

Alas, that was not meant to be, and while we attempted to maintain a friendship after that year ended, it was never the same. My broken and bruised heart always caused me to keep one step away, physically and emotionally, and when he graduated a year ahead of me, heading off to graduate school, I let the space between us continue to grow.

Back in mid-December, I was bumping around in the blogosphere, and suddenly his name popped into my head. It was the easiest of Google searches to find him. I simply plugged his name and the career he had planned ever so many years ago into Google, and voila, there he was... the same man I had loved so deeply, all those years ago, in a very prestigious position exactly where he had planned to be. I sent a short email to his work address, and waited, imagining how the email would be received. With surprise? Joy? Happy memories? Dread? Annoyance?

Two weeks went by. Christmas and it's activities kept me busy, but every now and again I would wonder how he had received the email. Had I unintentionally become the creepy Ghost of Christmases Past?

When I finally heard from him, it was a warm and wonderful email full of questions. And the catching up we've done in the past few weeks has been fun and, surprisingly, affirming. He has a good life. He is the same man I loved all those years ago. So many of the things he mentioned in his messages are exactly what I expected to hear: he remains committed to his family at all costs, to always giving more than 100% to his work, to being the best version of himself that he can be. Everything I heard from him filled me with a quiet joy. I am happy that his life has been so successful, so full, so very true.

But the surprising part of this little electronic reunion is what it has done for me. I have relived the last 17 years, in an effort to catch him up on the highlights. As I've read how his life has played out so closely to the script he had planned, I've considered how my life is nothing at all like I had planned. I've paused to look at all the choices that have led me to this place... very happily married, living 1,000 miles away from where I grew up, spending my days homeschooling, deeply entrenched in my faith. And the only thing that I can see is God's hand.

That 19 year old girl I was back then: she had all the answers. She knew who she was, where she was going, and how she was going to get there. (Man, what I would give for a bit of her uber-confidence!) She was so sure that there was nothing she couldn't do, no career she couldn't master, and that she was enough. There was no need for a Higher Power. And, after her heart was bruised, no need for a husband, either. She would be just fine on her own, thank you very much.

And she was just fine, completely and totally fine... until six years later, when an older, blond-haired, former Fraternity President (exactly the type of man she would have crossed the street to avoid in college) took her to lunch during a business trip in a city 1,000 miles away.

And now, I sit here in my toy-strewn family room, trying not to notice the piles of books stacked here and there, nudging the cat sleeping on my feet as I write on this laptop surrounded by pictures of people who never existed in that girl's script. I look at LilBro, the exact, spitting image of his Dad, even down to the texture of his hair and the impish smile, and the only thing I can do is pray. Thank you, sweet Lord. Thank you for knowing what that girl didn't. Thank you for your patience with her. Thank you for never giving up on her, not then, not now, not ever.

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