In the second grade, I did everything with my best friend. At school we spent every recess and lunch together. At sleepovers we played with Barbies and talked all night.
In the seventh grade, I still did everything with my best friend. At school we arranged for our lockers to be next to each other so we could see each other during passing period. At night we talked for hours on the phone — the kind with spiral cords attached to the wall.
Everyone joked we were twins because we did everything together.
In the twelfth grade, my family moved. I spent my senior year in a brand new city at a brand new high school. Completely alone, without any friends to orient me to my new surroundings, I looked for a new best friend.
I looked for her in the other girls who liked the same things I liked. I looked for her in the places I would typically hang out. And there were a few false starts. I’d get to know someone and wonder . . . Maybe she’ll be my new best friend? But time would soon reveal that she already had a best friend, someone she’d known since she was in the second grade.
I could relate. From afar.
My new best friend never materialized. Not in the way I had hoped. Instead I became casual friends with a lot of different people. I enjoyed the groups I was a part of and the people I knew. But that deep friendship . . . the kind of connection that makes you feel like someone really knows you and gets you and likes you . . . just didn’t happen.
Then I moved again. This time to a small town on the northern coast of California, and my new church had fewer than 200 people. It seemed as though most of the people I met were middle-aged women with families — all in a season of life that, as a 21-year-old, I felt sure I had nothing in common with. But they invited me to their mid-week Bible study, so I went.
The women gathered around tables and the Word. This was new to me. I was used to Sunday school classrooms and youth group activities and weekend gatherings. But these women read from Scripture. They shared their lives. They prayed together. And they always hugged before saying good-bye. They hugged me too.
As the weeks grew into months, I discovered a new kind of friendship.
This kind of friendship wasn’t found in a new “twin,” a kindred spirit who was just like me. The women I became friends with were not in the same season of life as me. They were older, and their daily lives with jobs and children and homes seemed quite foreign to mine. But I realized none of that mattered.
I’d been looking at all the externals. All the ways we were different — different ages, different stages. And I had missed all the ways we were the same. I had underestimated how much our love for Jesus made all those externals disappear. We were human souls, in need of a Savior, and together we learned more about Him every week through His Word.
Sometimes I wonder the direction my life might have taken if I had met another twin-like best friend?
Would I have been as willing to attend a mid-week Bible study with women I thought of as “much older” than me?
Today I am one of those “older women” — attending mid-week Bible study at church, studying the Word, sharing life, praying together, and hugging good-bye. And I keep an eye out for the young women who join us. Because I remember . . .
Sometimes we find the sweetest of friends in the most unexpected places.