I was on an anniversary vacation with my husband when my phone made the familiar “ding” in response to a text message.
It simply read, “I know this is crazy, but want to help me plan an epic surprise?”
Of course, I was all in.
The husband of one of my dearest friends knew his wife needed something big for her birthday. And while the lure of jewelry or musical tickets was tempting, he knew she was craving a kindred spirit. Problem was, that kindred spirit lived three states away. I suppose that’s what they make airplanes for, you figure?
When I walked in the door, she was cradling her newborn son in her arms. She was exhausted. I poked my head around the kitchen door, “Susan!” I said. But before I could get the word “surprise” out of my mouth, she was on her knees in tears. All of us were, actually. Never before have I experienced such elation at seeing someone who knew my soul, and I, hers. We both needed one another
I often think about the joy Mary and Elizabeth must’ve experienced as they greeted one another—in rejoicing not only in friendship but in God’s big love. He is a good, good Father, isn’t He?
God knows when we need the Holy Spirit’s power and strength delivered to us by a friend toting chicken wings and beer, with a promise of a pedicure and college football. I’m 100% sure of it. Holy and beautiful friendships with other women have opened my eyes to God’s graces. His promises. His mercy. His love.
I may not have stayed three months, instead just a short three days. But, as Susan and I stood in the airport to say our goodbyes, embracing one another and crying the ugly cry, my heart was full. God doesn’t promise us an easy life, easy deliveries, easy marriages, easy kids or easy crosses, but He does promise us eternity.
That, I believe, is worth making the journey.
The Visitation is one of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. Try to pray those mysteries today. Start here if you need help remembering them.
Kathryn Whitaker and her husband, Scott, have 6 awesome kids, teen to toddler. She is a former public relations consultant turned freelance graphic designer, party planner, organizer, and preemie advocate who hails from the Lone Star state. You can find out more about her here.