Then I met Elisabeth. I didn’t even want to go to the birthday party. I typically dislike going to kids’ birthday parties—especially if I don’t know the parents. My youngest was almost 3 and he’d been invited to the birthday party of another child from daycare and I didn’t know any of the other parents. Pushing aside my grumpiness over the whole thing, I took him to John’s Incredible Pizza which is like a more expensive, grander version of Chuck-e-Cheese’s, but without all the singing and costumed characters. It would have been awful had I not met Elisabeth, who immediately befriended and hung out with me. As it turned out, not only did we have kids in daycare together, we also had children at the same elementary school. It’s almost as if it was divinely ordained.
It’s a funny thing, trying to make friends as adults. I haven’t decided for sure but I think it’s harder for us than it is for kids.
This girl. She came into my life at just the right time. January 2017, work was as hard and painful as it had ever been. I was highly anxious that my job might be cut because of finances. The anxiety and stress manifested in an annoying twitch in my eye and something. had. to give.
After the party, one of us Facebook-found and friended the other, and that was it. We got together for a first friend date lunch that wasn’t as awkward as it should have been, and have been good friends ever since. Just a few weeks after we met, she was laid off when her company was acquired. A couple of months after that, I was laid off because my employer finally got a handle on finances and decided they couldn’t afford to keep me. Although our lay-offs were painful for each of us in unique ways, it was serendipitous to walk through unemployment together. She blazed the trail and helped me figure out how to navigate it—from the confusion and anger and heartache, to the unemployment process and the new normal, to the job-seeking and all the millions of decisions and adjustments along the way.
Spending time with Elisabeth is coming up out of the darkness for fresh air, a lightening of the burdens that press down so heavily, and a glimmer of hope that one day I might be at home back in the light. You might call it coincidence or luck or the universe but I think it just might be God who brought Elisabeth to me as an angel of sorts, to journey through this season and hopefully beyond. I’m grateful for her friendship which is at least partially responsible for my journey back out of the darkness and solely responsible for the re-entry of Chick-fil-A and sweet tea into my life.