God is reminding me that friendships are one of the greatest warmths we have in our lives! A few years ago, I was going through a really rough patch with one of the kids, and I began to look back over my life and my friendships and realized that I had lost friendships that were so, so precious, all because I had let my kids take over my life and my focus – then I’m in this terrible place with one of my kids, and I think, “Look at what I’ve given up – why did I do that?” I began to reach back out to friends that I had had along the way, the ones that were so important, that time and distance had just made us grow apart. When Terry and I were first married, we had these really good friends that we played cards with, went on vacations together, had our first and second children together, shared everything, and when I got a divorce, the thing I truly missed the most probably was the loss of those friendships! It wasn’t that anyone was mad or chose sides or any of those things – it’s just more when you were a couple hanging around with other couples and then you’re only half of a couple, no one really knows what to do with you, and you feel like the third wheel and it just gets weird.
So as I was mourning the loss of those friendships, I got up with the two women who were part of those couples and asked them to meet me for a “reuniting” weekend at the Greenbrier. Tal was giving up her title of Miss WV then and they were holding the orientation for the next year at the Greenbrier, and so she had a room and said we could tag along with her. The sad, terrible thing was, one of the women, I did not even know had left her husband and was now living in another state! That shows how out of touch I was. We agreed to meet at Ruby Tuesday’s in Lewisburg, and for the first time in probably 15 years, we were reunited! It was absolutely wonderful – in the way only women can think is wonderful. Turned out that both of their marriages were now over, and I had been happily remarried for years while they were just trying to figure out what/where/how to manage as a single woman. We talked and talked and cried and cried and laughed and cried some more. It was like a huge free therapy session. Turned out all those years I had secretly coveted their intact marriages and perfect children, like most things, that was a mirage of sorts – aren’t all of our lives like that? We look at others and think they have it all together, just living that perfect life, while on the inside, all is not so rosy. What a great weekend we had – and we have stayed in touch since, even though all of us are nowhere near each other in location.
A couple weeks ago, I got a surprise visit out of NOWHERE – my friend Brenda Head Higginbotham Foley and her new husband Eddie called to say, “Hey, we’re going by Ripley here in an hour or so, would you have time for lunch?” I was so thrilled, so excited that I was home, available, and what a gift to me to have a surprise visit from an out-of-state friend! We met at Bob Evans, ate too much, talked and talked and stayed too long for our poor waitress’ nerves, and then God sent a snowstorm and they ended up spending the night with us! Oh, what a great visit we had! Brenda’s husband Eddie was a New York City police officer and worked nine months cleaning up the World Trade Center site (with only four days off in nine months). He is a relatively new Christian with a faith and testimony that is so bold and fresh. He said something to me that has really stuck with me. He is a true conservative (shocking from NYC, I know) – but we were talking about being “labeled” and put on one of the “lists” for discrimination, and I laughed and said, “Oh, I’m sure my Facebook stories have me labeled as a right-wing, Jesus freak terrorist” and he said, “Well, if you aren’t on a list, SHAME ON YOU!” I have thought about that so much.
Remember when we were younger, they used to talk about how the Communists would take us over and we wouldn’t be able to have a Bible, and had we memorized enough scripture to make it through days like that, and what if they put us on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us? I guess now in social media, whatever/whoever we are comes out one way or another, at least to some extent. I’m so thankful to have friends that are real, who will tell me if I’m wrong, if I’m out of line, who will challenge me to be better/different than I am. Sometimes we just need those “Jesus with skin on” friends who will help us rise up.
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.