Sometimes friendships begin in the most unlikely places. Like my friendship with Bailey Starkey, former freshman roommate who drove me insane. Not really insane, but certainly we had our differences and the relationship never grew past general cordiality. We had a fun semester last spring, and then summer came and our lives took different paths and almost a year passed without us even stopping to say hello. To me, Bailey was one of those sweet little Heartland girls who was just a little too different from me.
Different how? When Bailey came up to me this spring with a serious look on her face, with all the fervor of the spirit of the Lord, and announced, "We need to be friends again!" she invited me to have green tea and crochet. I couldn't have been more appealed if I had been invited to watch cows swish their tails all day. A tea party?! Who even drinks tea in coffee-and-energy-drinks-driven college?! Who has time to sit around and crochet?! And if I were to sit around, I wouldn't want to be plucking at yarn like an old spinster and having to talk, that is, socialize, my free time away. I'd rather read, write, run, or sleep. I was appalled at the idea but unable to turn her down.
So this semester I've spent an absurd amount of time watching Bailey sew, knit, crochet, or hem while sipping on honey-sweetened green tea on the floor of her dorm room. Why? Because she's incredibly talented and it's fascinating to watch her create amazing designs with little effort; and because green tea is actually pretty healthy; but mostly, because there was just a spirit of the Lord about her that was undeniable. It was the kind of friendship that I'd always wanted, the kind that was bedrocked on prayer and the Bible. Of all the friendships I've had, I've never had one where the other person just incessantly pesters me with encouragement, prayer, and Bible verses. In a time when I'm trying to draw as astronomically possible close to the Lord, Bailey's spirit and friendship has been like an electric charge. Strengthening, convicting, and very inspiring.
Today she called me all the way from Mt. Vernon, Washington, to tell me she safely arrived home. So far away! I was lamenting a while back that I wouldn't ever be able to chat with her during the summer when she kindly reminded me that phones still work in Washington. I felt so blonde =) And she left me her beta fish, Zibbia, to watch for the summer. A girl fish! So now my crowntail Patrick has a girlfriend!!! He is pretty crazy about her, but I am nervous that they both survive the hot summer without me forgetting to feed them.
When I think about praying with Bailey this past semester, I think about all the cares and heartaches in our soul and how God answered. For eight years she has been praying for her dad's salvation, and as we joined in prayer, it was just a few weeks before she came running down the sidewalk aglow to exclaim the wonder of answered prayer: Her dad had unexpectedly gone to church at gotten saved!
In that sweet embrace as we rejoiced of the Lord's goodness to hear our prayers and change hearts and lives, I knew why Bailey meant so much to me. She was giving me hope. Hope for me, and hope for the future, and hope in God's goodness.
Thank you, Bailey.