Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I was a chubby little twelve year old when I met my very first covenant friend. We were on our way to church camp. In fact the first thing I ever said to her was, “Are you adopted?” Twenty-two years later I can still feel her icy glare. I don’t know why, but I got the distinct feeling that she was out of my league. Her hair was brushed, her nails were polished, her glasses were sweet and her clothes were clean. I can’t remember exactly how I looked on that day, but family pictures dating back to 1989 suggest that I was a mess! Somewhere between the hour long sermons, inedible camp food, and an over-crowded swimming pool a miracle occurred. Jessica Dacharux became my friend!
Only God knew that a week after returning from camp my dad would be struck by a terminal illness. With my home life in upheaval, Jessica’s mama offered to let me spend a week at their house. Little did Mrs. D. know this invitation would multiply her children from 3 to 4! Throughout my years of junior and senior high school their home was a constant source of encouragement and a refuge from life’s storm. When I couldn’t bear to let my daddy go, I ran for safety in Jessica’s room. When my choices were poor and my young life had grown stagnant, I was given the third degree at their kitchen table. I was reminded by her parents that I could be anything I wanted to be, that I could reach for more than I was accepting.
After graduation, Jess had her future all planned out. She was bound for Liberty University to pursue a career in journalism. Me, I was wishing for marriage and dreaming about babies, though mature enough for neither! By God’s grace I found myself right beside my best friend that August night when her parents left us both on a foreign campus. I cried harder than she did! College was good to both of us. She zipped right through and finished in two and a half years, but not before she met her future husband and introduced me to mine. On my wedding day she stood just to my left. Four months later I held her bouquet as she promised Matt forever. We were all grown up and living with half the country in between us.
She drove through the night to meet my first baby and eighteen months later she returned to welcome my second. While I was knee deep in diapers, Jessica was graduating from law school. It’s always been a thrill to brag, “My best friend’s a lawyer.” Yet, with our different accomplishments came insecurity on my part. I let time slip by, convincing myself that she was finally beyond me. But I was wrong; the Lord had sewn us together at the soul. It was on her thirteenth birthday that I gave her one half of a golden heart and only last year that she told me she had kept it. I’d kept mine too, all these years.
I’ve only laid eyes on her three times in the past decade. Jess is a new mama now. Her little boy is affectionately known as “Team”. During his long awaited arrival, she let me peer into her life. And if only in cyber-space, it seemed I walked the journey with her. She is, and always will be my covenant friend.