Ever have a friend who just gets you? Thankfully I’ve had many of them. I believe they are the stuff that makes life meaningful.

Until a little over a week ago, I hadn’t seen my college roommate for 34 years.  Ruth married one of my best friends from college. I was jealous, I think, because they got to be together and I was alone. They were married at the end of our junior year of college.

My love for them rips my heart out

Buddy West, Teresa Parker, and Ruth West enjoy a weekend of catching up on 30 plus years of living.

All my senior year I pondered what life would be like not to have them close to me.  It was the 70s. People didn’t just pick up the phone and call long distance. It cost too much. There wasn’t email or Skype or ichat or Facebook or the internet.

I was going to Virginia. They would be in Texas.  I knew I would never, ever find anyone as special to me as they were.  I remember thinking these things all of my senior year. I loved them so much, it was like my heart was ripped out when I graduated and had to leave the togetherness we had. It was a one-time season. Life and location would change. I knew it would never be the same.

Life happens to all of us

As things turned out, I got married two years later back home in Missouri. Ruth was in my wedding. In the ensuing 35 years, she, her husband and I had sort-of kept in touch, meaning we sent Christmas and birthday cards and talked on the phone sporadically. When Facebook caught on we became friends and emailed ever once in awhile. But we lost the beauty of being in each other’s lives. We each had families and children and lives of our own.

Last week, though, my daughter had a job interview in Dallas, 10 hours from where I live. I told her I know someone who lives there and I’d love to go see them. So plans were made and we took off.

Their lives challenge me

Words cannot describe how excited I was to see my friends and catch up on their life.  I admired their accomplishments having redefined themselves after working for more than 30 years in one industry.

Teresa and Ruth on a very wind-blown Oklahoma Baptist University campus in 1973.

They sat down and said, “What if we could do anything we want? What would that look like?” (They actually took their cue from a keynote address by Mike Rayburn which you can listen to by clicking here.)

They are in the process of developing an international import-export company focusing right now on a country where their son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren live. Working in the company combines their desire to work together, work with family, travel internationally, live their values and make a living.

They even moved to Dallas to be closer to their daughter and her family which includes two sets of twins under 3. Their new business allows them to do this because they can live anywhere that is close to a large airport.

I looked at them and realized, we are exactly the same age. Their lives challenged me by the way they have re-tooled to live their dreams.

Always more to say

They asked me what I wanted to do for the day when my daughter was interviewing. Did I want to go somewhere? I answered, “No, I just want to catch up on the more than 30 years of living that we each have done.”

We talked for two evenings and a day and half. I hated to leave. There is so much more we could say and share and catch up on. I realized with these friends every time we are together there will always be more to say.

Buddy West and Roy and Teresa Parker in 1978.

I am committed that this will not be the last time we get together. Why in the world did we wait so long? There is no good answer.

We pick up where we left off

I knew that when these special friends and I got back together we would simply pick up where we left off. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t physically laid eyes on each other in years. The closeness will never leave on this side of heaven and beyond.

My daughter commented the other day. “Mom, I always knew you were smart but when I saw you, Ruth and Buddy talking I really realized it all over again.”

Pretty great compliment from my almost college-graduate daughter. Really, though, what she saw was not intelligence. It was just a meaningful, deep connection between true friends.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family” (Proverbs 18:24, The Message).

I encourage you, if you have a true friend you haven’t seen in a long time, give them a call and plan a time to get together. And let me know how it goes.

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.