There are some friends in our lives that have to have been placed there divinely. I was reintroduced to that concept this past week when I heard from an old friend that I haven't talked to in five years.
I met Laurie in 1992 when we were at a church camp in Panama City Beach, Fla. We talked every day during that one week camp, and it was like I was talking to someone I had known all my life.
At the end of the week, we exchanged addresses and went back home -- me to Georgia and her to Mississippi. We wrote back and forth over the years and called on occasion. There were also Christmas and birthday cards.
We even got to see each other when I went to chaperone a youth camp that took place in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. in 1997. But that was only the second time we've ever talked face to face.
Later, she got married and moved to another town not far from where she grew up. I wasn't able to make the trip for her wedding, but I was able to speak to her during that time and congratulate her.
After her wedding, we lost contact. I didn't have her new address or phone number, and she had also changed email addresses. So the years went by with both of us thinking about each other and intending to get back in touch. But life gets in the way sometimes.
Then out of the blue, Laurie called my parents' house last week to find me. They gave her my new number, and we spent over two hours on the phone trying to cram five years of events into one conversation.
While talking with this friend who had prayed for me all these years, the loss of my cousin Christen to a car accident on Jan. 20 came up. Laurie reminded me that not long after we met, she lost her best friend in an accident as well. He was 16 at the time, just like Christen.
I couldn't get over the similarities in our stories. Her best friend had been a Godly influence in her life, just as Christen had been in mine. And the first thing out of her mouth on the subject was "It does get better."
It has been over ten years since her friend died. She's already been through the entire range of emotions in dealing with something of that magnitude. How could it be coincidence that she thought of me right now and wanted to talk after we've been silent for so long?
God prodded her to reconnect so that she could help comfort me. That may only be a small piece of it, but it's what I see right now. I thank God for friends like Laurie that keep me close in their thoughts and prayers, even when I'm far away.
But most of all, I'm thankful that people like Laurie act on those nudges from God, because those always bring something good.