During my freshman year of high school I took a Spanish class in which I sat across from a girl that I recognized from the school soccer team that I was a part of. We were both shy and quiet in class and so didn’t talk to each other much. But as the year went along we became friendly because sports has a way of throwing people together like that. One day in class we were given an assignment to make a crossword puzzle out of vocabulary words and then switch with a partner. I knew for sure we were going to be friends when I got mine back from her and there were pictures drawn all over it with words like, “Good luck tonight” doodled in the corners.
Becca and I did become friends. The next year I visited her church, and immediately after announced to my parents that I would be going there from then on. Looking back, this was a defining moment in my life. This church is where I met most of my best high school friends, and it is the reason I chose the college I did.
The first summer I could, I went with the youth group on the annual mission trip to a village in the mountains of Mexico. After working hard during the days, every night we would sit together as a group outside our tents to sing, talk about the day, and to reflect. One night near the end of the week we were given the chance to talk one-on-one. Becca and I began to talk shyly, but soon enough all of our struggles in life gushed out and our friendship was solidified. We made a decision to help each other with our problems, and committed ourselves to being honest with each other. On the drive home from the trip we stopped at a Mexican market for a quick shopping trip and Becca and I bought beaded rings to wear as a symbol of our friendship.
Two weeks after our return from the mission trip, Becca and I found ourselves at church camp. One day we were swimming in the lake playing a water polo game with a watermelon covered in lard. Typical church camp stuff. When the frenzy of the game subsided and it was time for dinner, I realized that during the commotion my ring had slipped off my finger. I was devastated. I now thought of Becca as my best friend, even though I didn’t tell her so, and I hated the thought of losing that precious symbol. So we started diving to the bottom of the lake and searching for it. We both felt that it was hopeless, but I couldn’t just walk away, and she never protested. After at least half an hour of searching, I was ready to give up. As a last effort I threw a prayer up to God and decided to dive down one last time. My hand fell right on top of the ring, and I truly believed that I had experienced a miracle. Although the ring is broken now, I have never been able to throw it away.
Becca and I went to the same small college, although she was a year ahead of me. When I left home for the first time it was with her; we drove the 11 hours together and my parents followed a few days later. We played soccer together, pulled pranks such as stealing license plates (I was the lookout girl) and stringing them up on campus, Naired our arms and got burned from it, and even became roommates. We didn’t have the type of friendship that could fall apart because of that.
There was always something about her that everyone noticed. She was (and is) and amazing soccer player, and she received loads of awards for it. She scored the goals and I passed her the ball. I remember one game where our team wasn’t playing well and at halftime our coach, who I always looked up to and wanted to please, said, “The only one out there who’s doing anything is Becca!” Nothing could have motivated me more. I wanted to be like her.
When she graduated from college, she moved to Baltimore to do a year of voluntary service working with inner city kids. During that time we dreamed and planned on how we were going to move to Dallas together after I graduated and she finished out her year of service. My mom and I even went and looked at houses for us, and came very close to signing a lease. But I just couldn’t do it without having a job. Nothing was coming through for us in that area, and everything was working out for me to stay in Houston. It was one of the most difficult things for me to tell Becca that I wouldn’t be moving to Dallas, because I knew that she wouldn’t want to come to Houston. I knew we might not ever live in the same place again. Instead she moved back to Wichita, and that is where she is still.
Now we see each other once or twice a year, and we talk on the phone every few weeks. The situation is not ideal. But one of the reasons I look forward to heaven is that I will have all of the people I know and love the most gathered in one place, instead of scattered across the world. When Becca got engaged last March, I had not even met her fiance. It seemed so strange.
On Sunday evening I stood next to Becca in bare feet underneath the willow tree by the lake. I held her bouquet of lilies and wildflowers as she took the hands of the man she loves and became his forever. I sang while they took communion; their first act together as a married couple. I watched as they embraced at the end of the aisle, unable to be apart any longer. She is my best friend. She is happy, and so am I.