Monday, April 30, 2012

Waiting Tables

This week I had the privilege of spending time with one of my best friends. When we met, I was 20, and she had two girls, ages 4 and 2.  Today, one of her daughters is in college (somewhere were they whoop, so I hear) and her other will be in college soon.  And I have kids close the age hers were when we met.

Today, we realized, we are old. Actually, we realized our kids are old. We are timeless.

I consider her one my most trusted confidants and wise council. And I never would have met her if it wasn't for the only college class I took just for fun; a singing class my sophomore year at UNT.  D didn't go to UNT, she was, is, and will always be a Baylor Bear.

However, that class led me to see a flyer for the Off Broadway Restaurant. A week later I was a singing waitress in Dallas.

D had never heard of the place, much less eaten there.

But her boss did, once. We happened to be doing the worst show ever, and I only had one mediocre song, which is probably why only one table filled that night. They weren't even my table, but I wandered over (mostly out of boredom) and the following conversation occurred.

I kid you not, this is how it went.

"Do you go to school?"
"Yes sir, I'm getting my degree in communications."
"How would you like an internship?"
*shocked and awed* "Absolutely."
"Here is my card. My director of communications' name is on the back. Come in next week and tell her I hired you."
*now shock, awe, and disbelief "Thank you so much."

The next week I walked into her office decked out in my $23 suit from Ross. She had no idea who I was, if I had any skills, or if I was a complete moron. But her boss hired me, so she was stuck with me.

Over the next five years, she taught me so much. She taught me about PR, writing, graphic design, media relations (i.e. how never to make an enemy of Becky Oliver), and crisis management. But she also taught me about having a successful marriage, parenting, conflict resolution, putting family first, loving God, and how to get a baby to sleep through the night.

I wasn't married at the time, and kids were the farthest thing from my mind, but her stories and those lessons stayed with me. During my most frustrating parenting moments, I often pull one of her stories out of my memory file and think of how I used to laugh at how she stressed over whether her daughter's bow matched her shoes. Knowing that the things that stress me out today (like the boy child dumping four bottles of sprinkles all over the pantry floor), will be the funny stories tomorrow.

There are people I have known my entire life with whom I share no deep personal relationship.  And then there are those people that God specifically brings about via your singing waitress job that completely change the course of your life.

D is one of those people in my life. One of those rare individuals with whom I can be totally open and vunerable, because we know too much about each other to ever consider passing judgement on the other. We can go nine months without talking and as soon as we sit down (always over food) it is like no time was lost.

D isn't the only friend that came about through strange circumstances.  I can say the same for most of my closest friends. Plans went wrong, things didn't turn out like I wanted them to, and sometimes somethig literally blew up in my life, and somehow I ended up with an amazing person in my life who never would have showed up if things went according to my plan.

I'm sure there are people in your life like that. Maybe you ran into your future husband in the dairy section, even though he is lactose intolerant. Maybe you met your best friend on a misfit bowling team in the third grade.

It is these "chance" meetings, these precious friendships, that remind me that God sees the entire picture of our life, beginning to end. With that vision, He knows exactly who we need in our lives and the exact moment we need them to show up.

I have a lot of casual friends, but very few of what I consider deep, authentic friends. You know, the kind you don't have to vacuum for when they are coming over. The kind that know you are slightly neurotic but love you just the same. Scratch that, they love you because you are slightly neurotic.

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