It’s been said that “a friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you’ve forgotten the words.”
Shortly after moving to the ‘burbs I met Becky, who was fated to become my across-the-street best friend. She was six months younger than I, about six inches taller, and we hit it off from the moment our eyes met. We spent as much time together as possible, which earned me the constant caustic remark from my step-dad of, “Why don’t you move in with her if you like her so much?” Understandably he was jealous of the bond between us, for he was used to having me all to himself. Perhaps he worried that I would confide in Bec about the abuses suffered at his hands. But he needn’t have, for he’d drilled into me the consequences to everyone should I be so stupid as to spill the beans.
Bec and I knew the song of one another’s hearts, and when I look back at that portion of my childhood I can’t imagine getting through those painful times without her encouragement. Her loyalty knew no bounds. I couldn’t convince her that I was lacking in any good quality of character; she scoffed at such balderdash, seeing me through the eyes of love. Whatever my failings (and they were many) she simply couldn’t see them.
With the uniting of our hearts I entered into a season of experiencing unconditional love. Our affection for one another went deep, as is the way with young girls who have yet to switch their loyalties to the world of boys and romance. Neither of us were perfect by any means, but we hadn’t an unkind word to say about one another.
When I picture myself back then there are two images juxtaposed: Bec and I enjoying each other’s company in that deliciously lazy way common to kids, and the torments I went through (of which she was ignorant) under my step-dad’s dreary roof. It’s impossible for me to separate these images, for my life was a mixture of extreme evil and extreme grace. Did God provide me with this special friendship for this season of time, knowing how dearly I’d need Bec’s companionship and encouragement? I like to think so. Imagine going through the shame of abuse with no best friend to lean on, no someone special to make me laugh, to gift me (without realizing she was doing so) with the ability to not feel freakish all of the time. Imagine not having had her casual hand on my arm, assuring me that not all touch was sexual or shameful!
This would be the strongest, deepest friendship of my life but even so it couldn’t endure the strength of the tide of evil and dysfunction which threatened to drown me. With my sudden flight from home at the age of fifteen, by necessity I left Bec behind. There was a sense of not wanting to contaminate her with the new brand of chaos which had overwhelmed my life. I was running away, running for dear life from something I couldn’t name but which I knew, instinctively, had the potential to destroy me. And so our friendship ended as abruptly as it’d begun, much to my sorrow.
When I ponder the many facets of that friendship, I feel a twinge of grief at having suffered its loss. But there is also a deep sense of having been blessed by Bec during those years when I needed all the blessings I could get.