I have a friend who will turn 40 this month. I am 14 years older than she, and yet, we get along beautifully.
Friendship can be a funny thing. It can bridge age gaps, race, distance and time. I have one friend who has been a close friend since before kindergarten. Even though we may only see each other a couple of times a year, when we get together, it’s as if we saw each other just a few days earlier. The passage of time falls away and we’re young once again. Giggling, silly girls.
My friend who turns 40 this month told me last night that she frequently feels alone – that no one else is in the position she finds herself in at any given moment. She also said that sometimes she feels like she’s 12 years old again. I asked her if that meant she feels immature. “Not immature – more like inexperienced,” she answered. I told her I certainly did not think of her as inexperienced and I don’t think anyone else who knows her feels that way about her.
As I pondered our conversation later, I realized I completely understand what she is feeling. Although our respective life situations at 40 are totally different (she’s married with 5 children and at 40, I was recently divorced raising my daughter and son), I remember feeling exactly the way she feels. It was as if I hadn’t really lived – had not experienced life and learned from the experiences. But I had – and so has my friend. We learn from every situation we go through. We may not learn the right lesson, but we learn. When we learn the wrong lesson, we usually get a second chance to learn the right lesson. One friend calls this second chance “going around the same mountain again.” In other words, we repeat that situation and make the wrong choice again and again until we finally “get it.”
As my friend moves through the early 40’s of her life, she will realize what I finally understood – that all along she has known more – experientially – than she thought she did. She will remember situations and the lesson or lessons she learned from each experience. She will come to understand that she is not inexperienced – quite the opposite, in fact – but still growing.
And she will realize she is not alone, but rather unique, as we all are. No one is created to be exactly like anyone else. Twins come close, but even they will have some differences.
So, Happy Birthday, Heather! May you continue to grow through your experiences and in your own uniqueness. After all, you are who your Creator designed you to be!
(C) 2008 Edwina Cowgill
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