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Most people won’t remember this song, “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till it’s Gone)”, by Cinderella.  Did you ever have a friendship that you didn’t recognize as really important until after it was over?  I met Charlotte a few years ago.  She is a nurse, and worked the same floor I do.  Bright, bubbly, and painfully pretty.  The only thing more beautiful than her looks, is her love of Christ.  We worked together, laughed together, talked and talked AND TALKED, too.  I would get in her business when she pulled the princess card. Likewise, she had no trouble reminding me when I was acting like asshole.  Her husband Doug would bring her lunch to work when he wasn’t offshore. (*rolls eyes* Newlyweds.)  Sometimes, time permitting at lunch, we would all chat together.  More often, I let them go off and enjoy lunch together and run interference when a particular nurse would want to intrude. (hush co-workers, we all know who.)  What mesmerized me about both is how truly kind they are.  It shows in how they treat people.  It was a wonderful time that passed entirely too quickly.  The day came last August for Doug to finish his education.

A half world away, Doug went to university in Scotland.  This event created a tectonic shift in my life.  For years, I have been friendly with coworkers.  They come, they go, and life goes on.  When they left (Charlotte especially), it literally felt like most of the oxygen was taken out of the room.   What in the hell?!?!? was really going on?  Without realizing it, I had made a couple of  true friends.  That isn’t to say there are not others in my life, there a few.  I was intrigued by the void left.  I really didn’t want to try to tell either of them that.  I actually haven’t really now.  I knew that Doug was in school, and Charlotte was young and in Europe.  We would Facebook a little, email a little.  I mailed Charlotte pancake mix, she mailed me bouillon cubes.   After school, the trekked across several countries in Europe.  Last week they come home.  Doug with a degree, and Charlotte with a job interview back at our hospital.  She has been reading the blog, and been very supportive and kind.

Last week she came to the hospital to take care of some pre-employment details.  It was a joy to see her.  I abandoned my post at work (sorry about that) and we ran off to the break room to chat.  She does this twirl and is hold a precious little box.  Very pretty, inlaid with mother of pearl, she opened it.  On their trek across Europe, they stopped in Rome and Vatican City.  The box contained a beautiful rosary.  The gift came ready to use.  The Rosaries made there are all blessed by The Pope!  Now yes, this is an amazing gift.  What makes it even more precious to me is that Charlotte is protestant.  Now, many protestants don’t bash Catholics.  The gift, its meaning, its symbol, and the support I have been given…all wrapped into one makes it priceless.  With my struggles, failings, and insecurities; to be heard and acknowledged is priceless.

Today I really wanted to try to express all of these things to them face to face.  We went and had lunch.  It was great.  I don’t think I did a good job of telling them all these things.  Its ok though.  The evidence was all over the place in our conversations.  The ease and flow of it.  The banter, wit, and jokes, the non-judgemental exchange of ideas and experience, the security and trust of it,  all indicate common ground and true friendship.  I look forward to being able to spend more time around two very special people.  I’m not sure I can ever express how fundamentally important they both have been in my life, and my walk of faith.