Ann and Karen were the first people to invite me to anything when I arrived at Santa Maria High School all those years ago. Most of the kids had gone to school together all their lives in the small agricultural community on the Central Coast of California. It was hard for a newcomer to break in, but Ann offered me friendship, and introduced me to her friend Karen.
I didn’t stay in touch with most of my graduating class. As was our custom, my father got a job in another location and we moved to the LA area in the summer. I haven’t seen these women since, but I never forgot their kindness. So when our class began a website preparing for our reunion this summer, I looked for them. And there they were, looking the same, just grey-haired, like me.
If you had told me, all those years ago, what my life would be like now, I never would have believed you. College, marriage and children were expected. Divorce, success in the field of Luxury Plumbing Sales, and a call to pastoral ministry were not. And yet, the unexpected events seemed to be the most formative for me. It was in the times when life crashed around me that I was most aware of God’s promises and found myself turning to them with trust. God has certainly been with me through every joy and sorrow of a life which has been rich. It was because they were formed by God’s love that Ann and Karen befriended me. They were only one instance of God’s love being extended to me at times of fear and uncertainty. But it was so wonderful to be able to see them again and thank them for their care for an outsider, and for being the face of God’s love for a clunky teenaged girl.