I was only two years old when I met Katie, a cute redhead at campmeeting. At first I remember us pacing the grass outside of her house when we were tiny, wistfully staring at each other and pondering in our little minds what to say. As time passed, we graduated from our shyness and got to know each other much better. Katie's younger sister Tory, and my sister Amy would suspend jump-ropes from their top bunk and we older girls slid under the bed to tie stuffed animals to the bottom handles. Together we became involved with music and everyone tackled recorder, dressing up as angels and playing a special music near Christmas time. Our golden headbands and belts were tickly and itchy, and soon we had to file out of the pew and change. Our family's took adventurous walks in the summer, vigorous sledding parties in the winter, and had camp-outs together in the fall.
As the years passed we girls emailed and chatted, living in the pure joy of true friendship. The memories will go on and on. We had so many adventures together! I remember a cold winter day and a particular slide which sent Amy and Tory right on top of each other. They were laughing so hard, they appeared to be a mass of giggles resting in a heap in the white snow. And the time when we got lost together, ran from a swarming nest of ground bees, and ended up in someone's backyard in town. We enviously passed by a woman sipping a luscious glass of lemonade on her front porch and satisfied our appetite with sour crabapples as we trudged up our road. Taking a walk, we giggled and stuck ferns and flowers in our dad's back pockets as they talked together. I remember when, more recently, we girls gave a special music at their church and the microphones screeched like I've never heard before. The memories went on and on.
Last Sabbath, we finally gathered together to say good-bye. This family - our friends for almost my entire life - were taking a journey across the country to go to academy. We took a Sabbath walk, wandering through the woods and found a winding dirt road up Tucker Mountain. When we got to the top of the hill, we rested together and refreshed ourselves with the beautiful view. Yet there was a trace of sadness as we rested together, because we knew this was the last walk we would take in a long time. At home we sang a few songs together, and my fingers lingered over the piano keys as the last strains of harmony ceased.
After saying a tearful good-bye, we watched our friends walk to their car. I could only wave and watch them leave. In a way I felt that I was saying good-bye to those past years of childhood, and that things would never be the same again. Again I faced reality: life is full of change. Some change brings us pure joy, and some brings us heartache and pain. But through it all, Christ calls me to surrender all to Him and ultimately trust in His perfect plan. Friendship is a beautiful gift that God grants us, and I have learned how precious it truly is. I want to thank each and every one of you for being my friends. Let's live next door in heaven.