Saturday morning, I set off on a journey for the day that brought so much joy and so many tears to my heart. Lynchburg Virginia is a little, normally sleepy town, that was all abuzz on Saturday. Thousands of people had ascended upon the campus of Liberty University to honor and cheer on loved ones who were receiving diplomas, certificates, awards, and the pleasure of having successfully completed the degree of their choice. One of my oldest and dearest friends was among these students. No longer a student, but now a Nurse, Sarah has worked tirelessly over the past 4 years to graduate with her peers. I have not laid eyes on this rare beauty since the day that she started her educational career, but it was such an honor to stand and applaud her as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma.
It is rare to say that people have walked with you through your toughest battles. We have spent most of our friendship living as far as 6,000 Miles away. In 2006, Sarah and her family left for Turkey. I thought my heart would burst from pain I felt that day. I”ve recounted it a thousand times. It was a rainy January day. And I was saying goodbye to one of the most amazing women I had ever known. We were girls. Terrified of the reality that at our age we may never see each other again. That fate may have decided our futures. We never said it, but there was always such fear that our paths would never cross again. At 15 years old 6000 miles is a universe away, maybe more.
As the years have progressed, our relationship has changed, evolved, morphed, but in the midst of all of these changes it has been a steady point of reference. Sarah was one of the first people who taught me how to love. Unconditionally, over time and space, and in the midst of the greatest trials we have ever known. 8 years ago, when I found out that Sarah would be leaving my side, I bought a ring, a ring that I have worn since that day to remember to pray for this precious gem as she embarked on one of the most life changing journeys of her life. It has been a pleasure to see her accomplish her dreams and reach for the goals that her heart has so earnestly desired.
Through the highs, the lows, the complete involvement, and the absolute absence from each others lives, our friendship has endured. I look forward to many more celebrations and a thousand more accomplishments to be conquered. Congratulations my sweet friend! I am more proud than words could ever express and I am so excited to see where the Lord leads you in the coming days, years, and decades!