Have you ever been a part of a really great surprise?
On Saturday, October 16 – my college roommate’s 40th birthday – I was.
Jennifer and I have been friends for 21 years (roommates for 12 of those!) Therefore, surprising someone with whom I have more memories with than without, and attempting to be creative with someone who knows me entirely, was quite a challenge.
But living 800 miles away? Advantage: Barlow.
To celebrate her birthday, Jennifer invited friends to a local park to celebrate the birthday of her son, Joshua, who will turn 1 on Thursday. When the invitation arrived in my mailbox, I was scheduled to be in Michigan and California. But God had a better plan, and I arrived in Raleigh on Friday afternoon.
As I drove from Raleigh to Kernersville on Saturday, memories of Meredith, Navigators, living on Gorman Street, summers at Kanakuk and Caswell, my parents’ divorce, ski trips to Whistler, Jamie, Young Life, Bojangles’ Chicken Filet Biscuits, thousands of walks, cold hospital floors, my mom’s funeral, Thanksgiving in Australia, her dad’s heart attacks, countless bible studies, Sambo & Hobbes, singing in the car, beach trips, prayer walks, her moving to China, and inevitable moments of weariness, conflict, and failure, all raced to the starting line of my mind. As I pulled into the parking lot, I thanked God for my friend. I got out of the car, walked the path that led to Shelter #3, created camouflage in trees, and then it happened… she saw me.
And at once, she began to weep and mirror my walk down the path.