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Friends Are Special To Us All...
by Johnanna Barnes
Not For Sale
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I was sitting in my favorite chair watching television one morning, when all of a sudden I realized that there was one thing that really stands out about one of my very dear friends. It was that he is very different than the other friends that I have in so many ways. Most of the time when my friends and I get together we always have a great time. But there are other times that the one particular friend and I get together that the things we share are not always good or happy things. Him and I have been through so many things good and bad that we are kind of like of one mind now as well as one heart. Some people say that it is all in my head and that he is just like all of my other friends. I simply look them in the eye and say to them that he never was and never will be just like the others.
I realized that all of this thinking was not getting anything done so I decided to get up and get my daily activities underway. I went upstairs and got dressed then went into the kitchen and started doing my cooking for the picnic that I had arranged for my friends and I to have in the park that evening. I was making all the things that my friends and I loved so that we could have a great time catching up on things and reminiscing with one another. This picnic is something that we do every three months and if it is too cold for a picnic then we have a hot meal indoors at a favorite restaurant. When we get together we discuss all sorts of things ranging from present things going on in our lives to things that happened when we first met and got together. I think that is what has really kept us as close as we are to this day.
I have this one friend that is simply as bold as she wants to be in the presents of the group that we have come to be, but let her get in the presents of strangers and she will quickly clam up very tight, afraid of what others will think. Then I have another friend that simply does not care what others think or who gets offended if she is right about something. She is straight from the cuff in her opinions and emotions. I also have this friend who is very conservative with what she says around others. Watching every word as not to make a mistake or offend anyone. Oh and I cannot forget the friend that just wants things her way and no other way. She simply will not accept anything that goes against her grain and may cause her upset or pain of any kind. Some of my friends have kids and some do not, the kids are the subject of us getting together some of the time as well. Even for the friends that do not have kids, the kids always find a way to unite us all. There is another friend that I have that is the life of the party everywhere we go all the time. He is simply always ready for the endless prank that is just waiting to be pulled on someone, or the funniest joke that he has ever heard, he just have to tell us all. Then I have another friend that is very friendly and outgoing as well. He is very noticed as well as remembered by all that he meets. I have another very dear friend that has been around since we were small kids and I would do just about anything for. We have been through a lot over the years but still we have remained very close and inseparable at times. Another friend is very intriguing and at times and subtle as well. He is very surprising and overwhelming at other times. No one is ever at a loss of emotion or words around him. There is no way that I could forget this other friend that I have, she is very naive and timid, but yet when need be bold and energetic. She is very sensitive and warm as well kind hearted. Finally I have one more friend that is a newbie to the crew. He is outspoken and open, as well as sincere and true to his word as all of my friends are. He is someone that is a little weird at times but also understandable at other times.
Everything was coming along very well for the picnic and I had extra time to plan a little something that my friends were not expecting. When I got all of the picnic supplies packed and ready to go I made a few calls and planned for some unsuspected thrills for us all. I wanted this particular picnic to be special and with what I had in mind it would be. I checked around to make sure that what I had in mind was not going get us into any trouble. Everything was set and the plans moved along very nicely. I called my friends to make sure that they could all come to the picnic and all indeed were coming. I informed them that they might be in for a surprise when things got underway. We were all looking forward seeing each other again, after all it had been a long time since we had all gotten together and enjoyed the antics that we all go through. The time came for me to leave and find the place that the picnic was to be located at. I went to a local park, which was very near my house, and at this time of evening was somewhat secluded as well. My plans called for the utmost seclusion and it was all working out very well. My friends started showing up one by one, that gave us some time to fill in the blanks since we were last together. When everyone had finally arrived, I decided to have a little fun with them and tell them that everything was off for the evening because something very important came up that I could not get out of and could not reschedule. When I told them all the sad news they were ready to kill me for dragging them all out and not telling them ahead of time. I played along with the story for about a half an hour and finally had to give in and confess to them that I was only playing them. Then told them all that nothing in the world would ever come in front of our reunions. My friends were kind of puzzled at what I had in mind for the evening, but I would only tell them that it was something that they all would enjoy and have fun doing. With a very sly grin and a twinkle in my eye, I slowly turned and put away all of the picnic supplies that I had taken out and set up as a ploy to entice all of my friends. They all looked at me like I was crazy and were very inquisitive as to what was going on. I came back to the group and began to explain to them that plans had changed ever so slightly and now we were going to go for a moonlight swim in the nearby lake that was deserted by now.
Well by this time, the group was certain that I had lost all of my marbles. As I proceeded to explain things to them all they were more accepting of my plans. I went on to tell them that I had arranged to have swimsuits for all of us to be delivered at the side of the lake and I had also told them that if we were really careful and swam and quietly, we would not end up in jail for swimming in a private lake without permission. Some of their eyes grew larger with shock as well as excitement. They were stunned that I would lead them into such a thing and take the risk of getting caught especially by the police. But I finally convinced them all that it would be just fine and that we would not get caught. We went over to the lake and found the swimsuits and got changed. After some friendly antics as usual, we all took our turns jumping into the lake. Since it was beginning to get dark by now the temperature of the water was going down. Some of my friends were saying how cold the water was to them, but the others were taking the change in temperature very well. We had a fabulous time swimming and playing around in the lake that evening, and things were going along very well when all of a sudden a security guard came by on his hourly rounds. This obviously surprised us all and we began to panic a little because if we were caught it would not look very good for us in the community. We all tried to be very quiet and very still as well. The guard walked around the entire lake and came very close to where we were hiding, but he did not see or hear us for the moment. We watched him as he continued on with his rounds and went into a different part of the park. Obviously this struck a certain caution in us all from that time on, we had to be very quiet as well as tame while we were in the lake, that seemed to be the hard part for us. Whenever we all got together we had a tendency to get a little crazy at times, especially when there was the thrill of danger in the midst. As I watched the group play and have fun swimming, I found a secluded spot away from them for a few minutes and I thought of the last time that we all had gotten together. It was fun and memorable but nothing like this time because there was no danger in our time together. I started thinking that the group thrived on danger and excitement. Even the timid and shy friends that I have were fitting right in and going along with everything that the rest were doing. The common factor was the danger aspect and I even had a sense of desire to see if we would get caught. I am not a leader, but a follower in most cases. Considering the fun that everyone was having, I felt a wonderful sense of leadership as well as accomplishment because I was able to get the group to do something that they really enjoyed and had never really done before.
I stayed in my secluded spot for some time and noticed a few simple diversities in my friends. Things like style of swimming, time underwater, as well as if they could float or not, and if they like playing chicken or not. My friends are very unique and have their own special way of doing things when we are together; I love watching them and learning from them. The group finally noticed that I was missing and came looking for me. They decided to be funny and sneak up on me instead of being nice. Some of my friends came up from behind me and the rest came and found me from the sides. When they finally all found me they jumped on me and tried to dunk me all at the same time from every direction. I was startled and caught off guard and had a very hard time staying above the water, but finally alas, they completed their task and did indeed push me under the water for a good long time. They all said that they did it because it was their way of teaching me not to leave them anymore like I did. When we all found our bearings and relocated to the middle of the lake where we were before, we continued our swim for a about another half an hour and finally decided to get out for a while and have our picnic. I took all of the things out of my car for the picnic. I proceeded to set things up and get the picnic started; some of my female friends helped with setting up. Once things got done everyone was called over to eat and enjoy their favorite dishes. We had fun talking and discussing many things and catching up, yes there was some teasing and playing going on, as there always was between us. As in the past, the activities between us never really got carried away or taken out of context. We were very abreast of the others feelings and concerns, that way no one would step on anyone's toes or hurt anyone unintentionally.
By the time everyone got done eating and enjoying the conversation, we were all really tired, after all it was about 4am. We decided to start cleaning up things and some of the group wanted to go back to the lake again. Those few went on ahead of the rest of us and we finished packing up everything. When we arrived at the lake again, the others were sitting by the side of the lake with their feet in the water. They were sitting there and relaxing for a few minutes as they waited on us to get there, we joined them and we talked for what seemed like hours about all kinds of things and we found out some things that we did not know about each other. As we watched the sunrise coming through the trees, we all saw something that was very interesting. We saw the greatness of God and His willingness to let us all have yet another day to enjoy His goodness and His mercy. The sun was shinning through the trees as though it was God looking down on us, shimmering and sparkling on us as we held each other and made plans for our futures. God has His own plan for us all and He allows us to know about that plan in His own time and not before then. I knew what that beautiful sunrise represented but I was not so sure that the others did. It was almost time for people to start moving through the park so I warned all of my friends and we all got together and gathered everything up and started to leave the park.
As we all were about to leave the park and go our different ways yet again, I gathered everyone around me and I asked them if we could all pray together. They all looked at me with a very strange look and then consented to pray with me. We all held hands and I started to pray, as I did, I noticed that I was not the only one of my friends that was praying. This fact kind of stunned me but I simply played it off and went on and finished the prayer. We hugged each other and said our good-byes and just when I thought that everyone was about to leave, I was surprised to see that all of my friends came up to me once again and told me just how much they loved the picnic this time, and they said that they all felt that I did a wonderful job at planning everything for them. They also went on to tell me how much fun they had had and that they all were very glad that they had came even if there was a very good chance of going to jail. We all had one more big hug and left feeling very warm and loved inside. We all left and went in our many diverse ways. I was very pleased with the way that things had gone and the fun that we had had. I was looking forward to getting together with my friends again next time. I went home and unloaded the car and put everything away. As I was settling in and starting to relax watching television, I heard the phone ring. I answered it and it was one of my friends, they had wanted to call me and thank me again for setting everything up as I did. It turned out to be the friend that I felt was very special to me and different than the others. We talked for quite a long time and made some very interesting plans of our own without the others. My friend wanted to surprise me this time, so I let him do just that.
The next week came and I was supposed to meet with my friend, we wanted no interruptions of any kind. He knows what I like to do and where I like to go so I let him take over the plans for the day. When he called me that morning I was waiting patiently to see just what he had in mind for us to do that afternoon. He told me that he loved being with the others in the park but he also loved being with me more, which was the reasoning behind our meeting. I simply listened to him talk and say what was in his heart, apparently this was something that he needed to do. When he was done, I told him how I felt and it was very similar to his feelings but slightly different. We decided to continue the discussion over lunch by the river's edge. He knew that I loved it by the water so I could watch the water as it rippled by and the sun reflect on it ever so lightly. It was always very peaceful and serine there. It was the perfect place to continue our talk on that warm and very relaxing afternoon. After sitting by the water and feeling it's stillness for a while, he took me by the hand and lifted me to my feet. We left and preceded to go somewhere, I was very inquisitive as to what he had in mind. When we finally got to where we were going, I noticed that we were somewhere that I had never been before. My friend had taken me to the riverside again but in a different part, we were in a place where boat rides were given. He had made arrangements for us to take a cruise on the river at dusk, so I could watch the lights on the river as we talked and got even closer. As we boarded the boat I noticed that there was no one else onboard, and it was very romantic as well. The boat that he took me on was not a paddleboat as I had thought it would be. It was a pleasure boat that belonged to his boss, and it was very obvious that my friend had this all planned out well in advance. Not only were we alone on the boat, but my friend had candles everywhere, and a picnic laid out for us, and passionate music playing as well. I was not aware that my friend even knew how to drive a boat, but he was doing a very good job.
By this time I was very glad that I consented to go with my dear friend that evening. I was reluctant at first, not really sure of why but just the same not sure why I should go with him. I watched Him as he drove the boat away from the dock and out into the river so no one would disturb us. Apparently he wanted no distractions at all, and that sort of was what I wanted by this time as well. When we finally got to the middle of the river he slowed the boat down and then it came to a stop. He turned toward me and then came back to sit beside me on the back of the boat so that we could talk. We sat there for what seemed like hours talking, and then he attempted to put his arm around me and kiss me. I was stunned at first but still allowed him to go ahead with it. I was very pleased that he wanted to kiss me and was kind of thrown as well because I did not see the kiss coming at all. Our conversation was not headed in that direction at all. He simply said afterward that he just felt like he should kiss me and knew that the time was right. We began to have our private picnic and then tried to get closer in our conversation, but that kiss was simply overwhelming us both. It was very hard not to allow things to go any farther than just the kiss but we somehow found a way to do just that. As we watched a marvelous sunrise we knew that we should be heading back in and that the night was coming to an end. The thought of getting as close as we did that night was very exciting and interesting as well. I must admit that I have not gotten that close to any of my other friends in the past or the present. I know that my friends would have thought me crazy if I had ever tried to that close with any of them. My friend had asked me during our night of talking if I thought that we should tell the others in the group of our newfound closeness. I simply looked deep into his eyes, and graciously said that if there comes a time when they need to know anything, we will tell them together, but at the moment I did not feel that there was anything that they needed to know. He agreed with me and was very content with my response. The dawn was quickly approaching and my friend started the boat again and took us back to the dock.
As the weeks went by my friend and I became very active and spent a lot of time with one another. The other friends of our's had begun to notice the time that my friend and I were spending together and started asking questions. We finally had made the decision to talk to our other friends and fill them in on what was going on with us. We asked everyone to a small intimate dinner at our favorite restaurant and they all were able to come. When everyone in the group finally arrived, my friend and I were able to fill them in and let them all know that we were indeed wanting to see if there was anything that could come from the two of us together. We told the group that we have spent a lot of time talking and getting to know one another and that we have decided to try to make this work and see exactly where it will go and just maybe things will work out for us both. Well with this news the group was kind of out of sorts because out of all of the years that we all have been friends we have never had any of the group unite and become one before and they were at a lose as to how to act and behave now. We tried to let them know that nothing would be changing as far as the group would be concerned and that we were not leaving the group in any way, nor should they consider changing the way that they act or behave. Still the group had a little trouble dealing with the news. As the dinner went on I could sense the feelings of my friends, it concerned me that they were uncomfortable with everything. I excused myself and went into the restroom for few minutes. I found myself in there alone so I began to pray and ask God to give me some advice on the situation. I thanked Him for allowing me to have my friends and letting us all be as close as we are. I also asked Him for guidance and direction in the days and weeks to come where they were concerned. I prayed and meditated on our relationships and how they came about, God reminded me that He is always with us and watches over us in all that we do, as well as the fact that He has a plan for us all. I simply waited on God and stayed in reverence a while longer and by the time I felt that He was done with me, I felt so much better and knew in my heart that everything would be just fine.
I went back out to join the rest of the group and get on with the evening. When I got back the group had already finished their dinner and were ready to leave they were just waiting for me to return. We all went you for a walk and to the riverside again as we often do. We talked and got a lot of things out in the open. By the time that we were ready to part again, everyone in the group was feeling much better about my relationship with my special friend. The other friends in the group started teasing us about our feelings and how life will be in the future. I knew that they would be fine with the situation now. Well the time finally came that we had to leave and my friends all had early mornings and I did as well, so we said our good-byes. As we left my special friend and I left together and they rest of the group watched as we disappeared into the midst of the morning dew. I felt their eyes on us the entire time and I was comfortable with it. The next few days were very exciting ones for me, I was spending more and more time with my special friend. Things were becoming very intense for us both and we were taking things very slow. I got to know his family even better and he got closer to mine as well.
I discovered that my friend and I had much more in common than I thought and I wanted to be with him more and more all the time. I knew that he felt the same way that I did but I was afraid to say anything to him about it. We decided to take a vacation so that we could be alone and have no interruptions. We wanted to spend all of our time with each other and God, meditating and praying, that way we could know exactly what God wanted for us. We talked about where to go and finally decided to go to a very exciting place that we both wanted to see once again, I was reluctant to go so far away at first but my friend talked to me for a while about things would be when we got there and I felt much better. He always made me feel better about things just by reminding me that God is always with us and would not tell us to do things without a reason and that His angels are always with us and they guide and protect us always. The all arrangements were made and the day came for us to leave. The flight was a bit stressful but I knew that God was with us. We finally arrived in the Dominican Republic and I was very relieved that we were finally alone for at least a few days. We settled in very quickly and began taking advantage of all of the islands attributes. Things were going great for us and we were getting more and more comfortable with each other. Evening came and we went to dinner and had a wonderful time talking, then we went for a walk along the beach to watch the stars in the marvelous moonlight. We spent only a few days and nights on the island and we had a fabulous time while we were there. As time went on we felt very familiar and knew that we were doing what God wanted us to do. The day came when we had to go back home and back to our daily lives again. The time spent with God was very good for me as well as my friend we saw things in our lives that needed adjusting and other things that were to come for us both.
We both blended in very well again into our prominent lives and functioned, as God wanted us to everyday. As we prayed and meditated on what God wanted us to do with the relationship that He gave us, my friend and I both had mentioned to one another that God had showed us some things that we were not expecting at all. My friend called me one evening and began telling me some of the things that God had told him and some things God wanted him to do as well. We talked for several hours and came to the decision to have dinner at my house the next night. He came over early and we sat in the living room for a while and talked and then when I least expected it, my friend did something that really surprised me. He got down on his knees and took my hands in his and looked me squarely in the eyes and began telling me how much I meant to him. It was very clear to me that our vacation had really changed him and I was about to see exactly how much. He was telling me what God had told him about our future and our friends, some of the things I was not aware of. I patiently waited and listened to his every word. I looked him straight in eyes and heard him say that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me as his wife, and if I said yes to him that he would be the happiest man alive. Then he took a ring box out of his pocket and he opened it. It held the most exquisite diamond ring that I had ever set my eyes on. Well I was simply stunned at his statements and did not know what to say. He looked sort of stunned at my reactions, but fully understood them at the same time. I gave him a very big hug and started crying as I did. After calming down a bit and considering all aspects of his proposal, all I could do was to look at him and then back at the ring and then back at him again. I finally,
accepted his proposal, and he gave me a very happy and elated look. I told him that I would be very happy to be his wife and spend all eternity with him. I knew that if God did not want us together he would not have even gotten to where he could ask me.
I knew in my heart that God was with us all through every aspect of our relationship. After we both regained our composure, we had dinner and started making plans for the wedding. He stayed late that night and we had almost all of the wedding plans made by the time he left. We both had to work the next day and could hardly make it through the day. We had decided to tell the group together and we arranged a dinner. We knew that the group would have mixed emotions as they did when we got together. The entire group agreed to come to the dinner even though it was at the last minute. When I thought about being a wife I was scared and naive as well, but I knew that God would see me through anything. The day finally came when the news was to be told. The dinner was going very well and everyone was happy. My friend broke the ice and began to tell the group. First he told them of our trip to the Dominican Republic and all that God had shared with us. He then went on to tell the group the things he felt when he was with me. Everyone was starting to get familiar with the idea of us being together as a couple. My friend and I felt that the time was right to fill them in on our wedding news. They were very receptive to the news and they we all very eager as well to see us happy. The entire group knew that we were hearing from God because they could see that God was dealing with us, plus they could see His light in our eyes as well. After dinner the members of the group all wanted to celebrate with us, but we had other plans for them. We told them that we had a surprise for them and they were a bit thrown. We had made plans to have the honeymoon in the Dominican Republic and offered the group the chance to go with us as a celebration weekend full of fun for us all together. They were very excited at the prospect of going with us, even though we would be on our honeymoon. They simply loved the thought of enjoying the island and all of it's attributes with us.
The day came for us to be one and there were so very many exciting things going on. We had made all the members of the group a part of the wedding and they loved being there for us. Preparations were going on and the time was getting close, I was getting so very nervous and scared that something was going to go wrong. My friend was just as nervous as I was, but he had a hold on things for the moment. The guests started coming into the chapel and the minister was already in place as well. The church looked wonderful and everyone had done a marvelous job decorating it for us. We had decided that we would take that final walk together, that was because my daddy was no longer with us and I was far too chicken to walk into married life alone. As we were walking down to the minister, thoughts of our life together were going through my head. Those thoughts ranged from whether we were going to have any kids to how long we would live and what we would accomplish during our marriage. I looked into the faces of the guests as we passed them and they were filled with joy and excitement for us. I think that they knew that God was working a great bit in our lives because some of the guests knew us when we were a lot younger and they knew some of the things that we had been through. By the time that we had gotten to the minister we were both shaking and very nervous. He started talking and my friend and I looked at each other as to say" do you really want to do this?" The minister continued on with the ceremony and finally he got to the end where he said to my friend "you can now kiss your bride," and my friend leaned over to me raised my vale and kissed me very passionately. Then we turned and faced the guests and the minister announced us as man and wife. I could feel that my face was very red because I was embarrassed to be kissing my new husband in front of everyone. We began to walk through the guests once again and this time it was as one instead of two. It was a very different feeling but I loved how it felt just the same. The rest of the afternoon went along very well and then the reception went even better. We stayed until very late and finally things started to break up and guests began to leave. I was glad that they were leaving because I was very tired and wanted some sleep. We did not stay for the cleanup, instead we left for my house, and as we left our dear friends sent us off royally. We had wanted to spend our first night at my house because it was the most convenient to us both. Plans were made for us to leave on our honeymoon in the morning and surprisingly the entire group was going with us as well.
We all met at the airport in the morning ready to depart to the island once again. The members of the group were very excited and were teasing us about the night that we had spent as man and wife. We told them that everything was wonderful and that God had truly blessed us and guided us as we went through the night as one. There were some rough spots because we were such good friends, but we were there for each other and God was there for us as well. If we were even the slightest bit shy about something we simply looked to each other for strength, and then to God for the help that we needed. Our friends were very happy for us and were very supportive as well. As we boarded the plane we knew that God was going with us and we felt that everything was going according with His will. We finally got to the island and found our rooms. Everything was beautiful and the weather was marvelous. We all unpacked and decided to go for a swim so we met at the beach. We had a terrific time while we were on the island, and the day finally came when we had to come back home. Everyone was very sad to leave but we had no choice. The group was very excited about the thought of us sharing our honeymoon with them and the fact that we are finally married. They wanted us happy and they all knew that we would be now that we were together and that we finally found that special one that God had wanted for us to share our lives with. My new husband and I only pray that our friends could and will find the special one that God wants for them just as we did. We also pray that they will be patient and wait on Him as well as open to whatever he wants for them in their lives.
Time pasted and I was working in the yard one day in my garden and God spoke to me in my spirit and he said, " all is well." I could only think that He meant with my life and me. But as the afternoon went on He went on to let me know that all was well with not only my husband and I but also our friends. They were accepting everything very well and they were also looking at things differently since we had gotten married. That made me feel so much better and more comfortable with everything. I knew that we had made the right decision and that God really was in everything. I told my husband about what God had said to me while I was working and even he felt better about everything. The next time that we had gotten together with the group things were different to a point and yet still the same. The others made us feel so good about being married and they also made us feel as though we were still the same old friends that we always were as well. I was very glad that things had turned out so good for everyone. The group was invited to our new house for our next get together and they really enjoyed it. The feel was very different because it was not in a restaurant or a park or a public place but in our home and that made it seem more personal. After that first time being together after our wedding, the gatherings of all of us were better than ever, In time more members of the group got together and tested the waters as we did, but they were not as lucky as we were and it was not God's will that they be together. Nevertheless, we all had fun and spent time with God doing His will. Since then we still get together and catch up on the things that God has been doing in our lives and some of the group has gotten married to other people outside of the group but there are still a few that are still single and loving it as well. Trust in God and He will see you through anything that may come your way. Although your friends may all be very different and unique in their actions and beliefs, they should not be treated any different and they should be able to have the best part of you at all times. God gives us His very best and we should look to Him for guidance in how to treat our friends and loved ones. He will never steer us wrong nor guide us in the wrong direction. True friends will always be there for you and so you should be there for them as well through everything, God has been!

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