In 2002 I met Darren. We were going to be serving on UT’s campus together with Cru. He hopped out of the van at the Outback, along with my friend Eric and we started a friendship that has been significant in my life. Together, along with Eric, my friend Haley and several others who transitioned in and out, made up this little family. I don’t think I have ever laughed as hard as I laughed when I was with D and E. Those years were priceless, and in hindsight, fairly easy. We all wanted to be married (not to each other, just to clarify -:)) and have a family of our own. We talked about it often, dreamt about it, and we knew the name D would name his daughter, and that his wife needed to wear chaco’s. We watched each others hearts be hurt and the grieving process and encourage one another to have hope in those particular seasons. We understood. D would say to me, “Beth, I just see you with some big, strapping man.” He would usually make this comment after a bad experience or seeing a pic of a guy who had asked me out. re: not this joker. Friendship. History forming.
When D and E left Knoxville, it was hard. The loss of their daily presence I felt everywhere. We would still see each other and talk and I realized the history we had was a gift. History is significant. I’m feeling it acutely during this particular season of life. Two years ago, I cried like a baby as Eric stood next to D on his wedding day and we adopted Danielle (who does not like chaco’s) into our little family. Or more like she adopted me into hers. I had prayed for this unknown woman for years and what a joy it was to see D’s longing fulfilled in our Danielle. Friendship. History. Rejoicing.
Tonight D and Danielle are upstairs asleep in my sweet gift of a home. They also have little Addie (not the name “Bailey” he had told us repeatedly that he would name his daughter all those years when he was single). I’m smiling as I think about the journey with them and how rich it is/was to be a part of that. What a gift. So, tonight they were asking me questions about life and we were catching up and I wasn’t going to “go there” with them because I am on my own nerves with my disappointments, but they asked and I began to share with them my journey of the past year. The highs and the lows and the very lows and the joy and the pain and the awakening of hope and the diminishing of hope and how the battle is real. They were locked in and WITH me. The look of pain on their faces and smiles at other moments moved me. But what moved me the most was this. This friend who has walked with me for 12 years, who has longed for and prayed for me and desired the same things that I have, looked at me and said, “Beth, one day, maybe April or May, you are going to be sitting in Sequoyah Hills park, the suns going to be shining on your face, and you will begin to feel it again…..you will begin to feel hope again. Right now in the disappointments, it feels diminished, but it won’t always be like this.” It was sacred space.
The issues here isn’t about what my disappointment is or what it isn’t. It’s not important here, because what’s important is this……hope will rise. It will come when you least expect it. Sometimes hope is hard fought for and sometimes it is just what is to be received, but God wants to give us hope, and hope comes from trust. Trusting that the Father is good even and especially in the times of mystery. The times of mystery where there ARE NO ANSWERS! The only answer we get is Jesus himself. I”m learning that is enough. My friends gave me a gift tonight – they spoke the promise of hope when I do not feel it. We need friends who will carry that for us during seasons where we struggle. Jesus, thank you for giving YOUR PRESENCE in this season of mystery. Thank you for giving me friends.