Thursday, August 21, 2014

But You Gotta Have Friends

I am grateful for tender mercies. They happen every day, probably, but I am often too blind to notice them. And then the Lord, in His kindness, occasionally whacks me over the head with one.

Let's back up to 2002. It's fall of my freshman year at BYU, and I'm adjusting to life in a dinky dorm room with Kim, learning that college classes are, in fact, harder than high school classes, enduring meals at the Cannon Center, and experiencing extremely dry skin (courtesy of Utah). I'm also making friends. One such friend is Carol. There's a nice, tight-knit group of friends forming around me, of which she is an integral part. She is, no joke, possibly the kindest person on the planet. I'm so glad she's willing to be friends with a crazy loudmouth like me.

 An impromptu hat night on our floor
(i'm on the far left, carol's in the middle of the top row crouching)

As time goes on and college continues, Carol remains one of my closest friends; in practically all instances, she is my confidant. She is there for me when I have hard times; she is there for me during good times, too. We go to Stan's, a diner a couple blocks away from our apartment complex, for delicious milkshakes, fries, and good chatting. She keeps me cheerful. We sing snippets of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat together. At a time when I feel rejected by some, she never abandons me.

Of course, life gets busy and we don't see each other as often as years pass. Other friends and the occasional romantic interest come and go. Every once in a while, though, we meet at Stan's. Somehow that tradition stays afloat while we're both in Provo.

We even documented ourselves at Stan's here

I guess the point of this backstory is to illustrate that Carol was once of my best friends while I was in school. (believe me, i could have elaborated in more detail, but for your sakes, i refrained.) In her quiet, thoughtful way, she was a rock for me as I handled my life in my usual dramatic fashion. As life goes on, these friends come in and out of our lives, and there will be times we are in touch with them and times when we are not. Some, we may never see again. It's a little sad, but that's the way life goes. You can only hope that if those friends ever reflect on their past, they remember you in a positive light.

I don't think I live in the past, but every once in a while, I think of old friends and wonder how they're doing and have a desire to find them again. A couple weeks ago, I was thinking about Carol. And I was pretty sad that I let us fall out of touch once we graduated. I decided I would try and contact her. You'd think in this world of social media that such a task would be easy. But some people (gasp!) are not facebook! Well, I didn't let that daunt me, and I was pretty sure I found a possible avenue to contact her again, but I wasn't sure how reliable it was.

And then I went to Provo for the weekend.

Sunday came around. Glen and I decided we'd head over to our old ward for church. Knowing the nature of our ward and it being a year since we moved, we knew that the ward would look very different and there wouldn't be that many people we knew. However, there would still be hold-outs that we were looking forward to seeing. We walked into the familiar chapel, sat in a pew, and began looking around for anybody we might recognize. (of course, me being me, we were there earlier than many people.)

And there, a couple pews in front of us, sat my old friend Carol! Of all the double-takes I predicted that morning, I couldn't have predicted the one I would perform when I saw her! I immediately ditched Glen and high-tailed it over to her, where she was, naturally, just as surprised to see me coming up the pew. It ended up that she was visiting her sister, who is currently residing in my old ward. We talked for a couple of minutes, promised to exchange contact info, and then I went and surprised my other friends who I was actually expecting to see.

Sure, this could all be a huge coincidence. But I prefer to think of it as one of Heavenly Father's mercies. He knew I'd been thinking about Carol a few days before and had been looking for a way to find her. Glen and I could have easily decided to go to church a block away from where we were staying, but at the last minute, our old ward popped into our heads. Of course, there were perks to that idea (since i loved the people in that ward) and I was excited at the thought of it, but maybe the idea popped in there because God was saying, "I know who's going to be there!"

So I'm grateful for those times that He lets me know that He really is in charge and listening to us, even our unuttered prayers. I'm grateful for the chance I've had to reconnect with Carol and see where she is in her life. I'm grateful for friends, old and new.


"I have lost friends, some by death . . . others through sheer inability to cross the street." -Virginia Woolf

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