Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Unchanged

A sacred thing happened to me this year. I reconnected with an old friend from college.

It just always seemed that we were meant to be friends, the way the tapestry of our lives was woven together. We used to say of our friendship that it just must have been in our jeans. (Was that because we became friends in the seventies, before wearing jeans 24/7 was readily accepted except in the circle of semi-quasi-Christian-hippies we hung around with? Or was it our passive aggressive way of dealing with the sorority chicks strutting the campus in their high heels and mini skirts?)

So whether it was in our jeans, or in our genes, we knew the moment we became friends that there was something preciously God-ordained about our connection. There simply was. And before graduation, Vergie pressed into my hand a folded piece of stationery with words that summed us up quite nicely – "Heart Friends."

We stayed in touch some after college. Vergie was in my wedding party, and afterwards left town with my pink bamboo Hawaiian dishes that were fairly nauseating, but cleverly “Art Nouveau” at the same time. They had never even been opened when my mom bought them (cheap) at a garage sale so I would have dishes in my college apartment. Some poor man had bought them for his wife while he was in the army and on leave in Hawaii, and she hated them…that was the story. I couldn’t BELIEVE my own mom just gave them to her without asking me, but I got over it since I didn’t particularly like them either. Besides, it was Vergie.

Vergie even lived across town in Houston for a while, and we managed a few trips to see each other when the kids were little. We occasionally sent Christmas cards. Occasionally called. But life got busy and we lost touch mostly. I heard about her sometimes through mutual friends. So when I found that little piece of stationery in her handwriting that reminded me of why we connected deeper and on a core level, I kept it where I could read it over and over.

Then about this time a year ago, totally out of the blue, I got a comment on a blog post from my long lost Vergie. We have added approximately 35 years of living since college graduation, I think. However, the tapestry of our lives is still woven together by threads of faith and commonality. She has lost a precious son. I have lost my precious Dad. We started keeping up with each other a bit more.

So Saturday, I was flying out the door to drive up to East Texas for a memorial service for another friend’s father. Took a chance and shot Vergie an email – coming to your town- if you get this in time, call me and let’s grab a coke. My cell rang almost immediately.

I went by her house, we had a cup of soup together, went to the memorial service together, chatted familiarly along the way. Both when we saw each other for the first time, and when it was time to go, we hugged and held on tight, like friends who just needed to be reassured that it was indeed each other in the flesh. Vergie sent me home with a pot of her heirloom jade plant , a cutting of pencil cactus, and something interesting that she called “Moses in a Basket”. I promised to bring her a hanging basket of widow’s tears next time I blew through her town.

Has it really been that long since we’ve seen each other? You would never know. Things have changed, certainly. But there was still something preciously unchanged and God-ordained about our connection. There simply was.

I guess when it’s in your jeans, you just pick it back up where you left off. And anyways, how could you not be friends with someone named “Vergie”?

Tomorrow – Heart Friends.

2 comments:

Ryan said...

I love friends like that!! What a neat story! XOXO

April said...

So glad you and Vergie reconnected! I can't help being reminded of my dear friend of 18 years. Love this post! Thanks for sharing.