There came a time in high school when I was tossed out of my comfortable social nest. The group I had identified with for years...clung to like a raft in the treacherous middle and high school seas...wrapped around myself like a safe (I thought) cocoon...well, they decided one day that I just didn't belong with them anymore.
I racked my brain, sorted through my every action and word I could remember, trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Why didn't they like me anymore? I couldn't figure it out! I finally realized I had done nothing - said nothing - it was just my turn to feel those cold shoulders. I could sit and mope, feeling sad and lonely, or I could brush it off, find new friends and have fun. Without them.
I didn't have to look far. Kathy was in my science class, and I realized I had been too busy clinging to my safety net to realize how much fun she was and how much we had in common. I opened my eyes a little wider and was surprised to find even more friends all around me. Life outside of the cocoon was actually pretty fun! There were really cool people all around me!
How ironic that what seemed like a nightmare - the worst thing imaginable to a high school kid - turned out to be one of the best things that could happen to me. A true blessing in disguise! I gained more self-confidence and self-awareness, discovered true friendship, and became a more sensitive and caring person.
Within a few years, I was once again friends - even close friends - with several of my old nest-fellows; they were just teenage girls trying to navigate those treacherous waters themselves. We're still friends to this day, and I cherish those friendships, strengthened by fire and time.
But I'll always remember that Kathy was the first one that was there for me when everyone else left me cold and alone. She always saved me a spot on the school bus. We sang "Bad Company" and danced to Sly and the Family Stone...floated the Comal River in New Braunfels...rode around Deer Park with Nathan...went to the Galleria for Mexican Food with Hayden and William...saw Lynyrd Skynyrd with Bobby.
Later... clubs in Houston, parties and baseball games at Blinn College, and Wurstfest adventures in New Braunfels evolved into weddings and showers, heartbreak and happiness. There have been times when we've let years pass without seeing each other face to face, and we'll go months without talking, but our hearts are never far apart.
I wrote those words three years ago in a post here for my dear friend Kathy's 50th birthday. I hadn't seen Kathy in a few years when I wrote them, but that didn't change the friendship tie that bound us.
And that's why I drove to the small town of Rosebud yesterday for her mom's funeral. Even though it's been several years (again!) since I've seen her, I wanted to be there to support her, to show my love, and to represent all of the other friends who were thinking of her and praying for her who couldn't be there.
Despite the sadness that brought me there, it was good to see her in person, to finally meet her husband and see her son who I last saw twenty years ago or so. He's changed a little bit, and now has a beautiful wife and adorable baby girl.
Wow, Kathy is a grandmother!
I also got to catch up with Kathy's sister Kandy, and Kandy's husband Chris, who were friends of mine a long, long time ago as well, and see my sweet friend Donna who came to support Kathy, too.
What a blessing to be bound by these ties...
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.
We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.
From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.