I had a lot of childhood friends. It seems as I got older I brought home strays. There are two of these in particular I remember. One was Frankie (a girl) and one was Nancy. These two were the unlovely, poor kids. I found them in elementary school around 5th-6th grades. Nancy lived in our neighborhood if I recall and would come over to play. Frankie was a foster child if my memory is correct. I only knew them for a short time and never saw them again. Since we were not close, I don't think about them a lot. The reason I remember them is their poor family situations and that theirs was so different from my own.
Then there were the friends from church. My best friend in high school was Liz. I found her at church when we were probably 4 or 5 years old. We remain good friends today but in high school we were very close. I had other friends from church too. There are a few I stay in touch with via Facebook.
Then there were two friends I met in my younger elementary days and for whatever reasons they both moved away. Martha and her family moved after 3rd grade. Our mothers were friends from church and the neighborhood so we stayed in contact over the years off and on. She was at my wedding. I lost contact with her after that and have not been able to locate her though I have tried in years past. Jill and her family moved away after 2nd grade to Guam as her father worked for the military. We wrote letters for a while just like I did with Martha for a while. Then we lost touch and I guess sometime in 3rd or 4th grade there were no more letters to and/or from Jill.
Over the years I have thought about Jill a lot. My thoughts have been mostly about where she is and if she knew Jesus. Martha knew Jesus and no doubt we will catch up in heaven if we don't see each other before. But with Jill, I had no idea. Honestly, I cannot remember when we first met, if it was 1st or 2nd grade but I know she moved away after 2nd grade. So as I say, over the years I have wondered about where she is and what she is doing and mostly if she knew Jesus. And to that end, I prayed for her when I thought of her.
Fast forward to 2002. I work at a library with the computers. We use Polaris, an ILS (Integrated Library System) for our checking in/out, etc. My boss and I go to Syracuse, New York that October to check out the possibility of putting together a user group for the software. We are there when Polaris Users Group (PUG) is formed. The group meets annually in Syracuse and now in a different location every other year. For 2 or 3 years after that my boss went alone. She then became pregnant with twins and I took her place and I think it was either 2005 or 2006 while the meeting was still held exclusively in Syracuse. I have not been there for at least 2 years and so I discover there are many new faces.
The meetings/conference lasts from Thursday to Saturday at the hotel where we stay. So most attendees are in one location. On Thursday one lady in particular caught my eye as she seemed very knowledgeable about Polaris. I thought to myself that day that I should get to know her better. You know where this is going, right?
By Saturday morning I had not seen her again. I came to breakfast at the hotel and sat with some acquaintances. There is just a half day left before I can head home. Suddenly the lady I had wanted to meet shows up next to me and asks if she can sit with us. I tell her of course and we get to talking. Our name badges indicate our first names boldly, our last names smaller and our library under that. She begins asking how long I have worked in Euless. I tell her I also live there and have most of my life. She says she went to elementary school there. I ask which one and pretty quickly we divulge our maiden names and are in complete awe that we are Jill and Becky, best friends from 2nd grade.
As we are talking we decide we will attend the rest of the day together and try to catch up. Nearly impossible after 38 years! We both tried not to cry and from my point of view, it was quite cool that we found each other after so long. Definitely a God thing as far as I was concerned. Apparently, it was a pretty big step of faith for Jill. She had felt isolated and alone for a while in her spiritual walk (thank you, Jesus she knows you) and let me know right away that she was pretty much obeying God when she asked to sit with us. She is so glad she did and we are both blessed that she did.
This is already so long, I will begin another entry to tell you the rest of the story.