Last week, my nieces’ friend/classmate/fellow athlete was killed in a car accident. She was driving with two other friends in the car, apparently lost control, and hit a tree. She died at the scene. Fortunately, her two friends, though injured, are expected to survive. Unfortunately, it is believed that none were wearing seatbelts. A beautiful young 16 year old….gone in an instant.
This terrible tragedy brought some sad memories flooding back for me. Back when I was about 22 years old, I lost my friend Ellen in a car accident. Driving home alone, she hit a tree located in the highway median strip. This bright, bubbly, beautiful, funny girl was gone. I looked up to Ellen. She was a few years older than I and was just so great to be around. We worked together, but we laughed together more. On that Friday, I remember waving goodnight to her and offering the casual, “See you Monday!” It was a week before Christmas and it was far from festive, with Monday never arriving for Ellen.
I have friends who have come and gone through normal situations that are a part of life. I have friends who I’ve reignited the flame with; I have friends I had to let go of because the relationship had grown toxic. I have work friends, running friends, puppy friends, and of course, Facebook and Blogger friends. I smile at the unexpected text from a friend that simply says, “Hi” or “I miss you”. Through my old and my new friends, I feel truly blessed. Friends like Ellen were perhaps only meant to come along in a short, but meaningful way. Others like my nieces’ friend will stay frozen in time as a youthful 16 year old. Both were gone too soon, but I believe both packed such a punch, that even though their lives were short in length, what they brought us was something big enough to remember for a very long time.
The other night, we had a surprise visit from a friend and her children. Actually, we technically never saw them. They knocked on the door and fled. But before fleeing, they left this –
They made our night. And I think we made theirs….by not catching them!
When we give ourselves wholeheartedly to friends and receive the same back, it’s such an amazing and satisfying feeling. Gifts are meant for giving, but with friendship, it is meant to be given and received – at the same time.
Friends are truly gifts.