"I wonder," I said, my mind recalling a phone conversation just days before. "Maybe we should introduce him to Carol? She's ready to meet someone and loves music. Rob plays in a band. There's a common interest already!"
My best friend Rhonda, and her husband Sheldon, held their wine glasses up, gesturing a toast. I picked up my glass of water, and we smiled at each other. You know, those mischievous smiles with a sense of excitement too from a grand idea that is even better when three are involved, and the other parties don't know!
And, yes this was a set-up. A long-distance set-up as Rob resided in Ontario, and Carol in Alberta. A set-up eighteen years ago when the newspaper classifieds were the 'dating' sites of the time.
And Rhonda was still healthy.
On the morning of April 12, 2015, Rhonda passed away after 4 years of a hearty battle with cancer. Always a high achiever, she didn't let her cancer take away her ambitions and zest for life. Those four years, between cancer treatments, she participated in fund-raising events for breast cancer, traveled with her two daughters to New York, and other warmer climates, her last trip to Cuba just this past February with her three children, husband, and other family members.
Five years ago I wrote a Tribute to Rhonda. my best friend forever 'n ever. We met when we were three so do not remember a moment of my life, my world when she was not in it. She was the 'Stand By Me' part of my life--stomping through creeks, swimming in her back yard pool, hacking worms in half and watching both parts squirm, dolls then Barbies then boys, Holly Hobbie party dresses then Levis and Addidas. I moved west when 14 years old but we still connected, always, through letters, cards, calls and my visits back home.
And she believed in my dreams, in my writings. And if I have any regret, it is that she never saw me be published, her name gracing the dedication on the first page.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
At her Celebration of Life, attended by almost 300, I looked over at Rob, Rhonda's husband's best-friend, and the husband of Carol, my high school friend, another friend forever 'n ever. And my heart filled with gratitude for that moment 18 years ago where three got together scheming the set-up of two, a part of His tapestry, the weaving the together of lives for His purpose.
Because God has it all figured out, I am woven to Rhonda, forever 'n ever.
Carol, Rob, me, Sheldon, Rhonda
The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.