Ours was a friendship that, over the years, dissolved into what could be termed as a mere acquaintanceship. I left the neighborhood we both lived in and vowed to return to see Julie as often as I could. She was going to become a real estate agent. Regrettably, I don't know if she ever got her license.
Through the grapevine, I heard she moved into an apartment across town. I didn't think of her again until I opened the local newspaper; the story said her young son had been injured in an accident and, after several months, he lost his battle to live.
A little voice told me I should go see Julie, give my condolences, and try to be of support. It wasn't just the kind of fleeting worry that makes you wonder if you should return home to check and see if the stove is still on--and you do and its not. It was the kind of voice that shouted, "Go home. The house is going to burn down!" But time was short, my life busy.
I ignored the prompting.
The following Wednesday, the paper came again. That same little voice, as if in a reprimand, told me to turn to the obituaries. There she was--Julie--her life over, my chance at keeping my promise to remain her friend snuffed out. I trembled with remorse.
What years ago brought us together were the differences and similarities that eventually kept us apart. We were strong minded women with individual goals we were working hard to attain. However, we both yearned for a relationship with our Lord and Savior and happiness and stability for our children. In the beginning, I set out to be an example Julie would be proud to emulate, a supposedly solid friend in whom she could trust. In the end, I was so busy trying to be a good person in the eyes of the world that I forgot the world is comprised of individuals.
Could I have made a difference if I kept my promise to return and see her? Would it have mattered if I paid my respects when her son died? Put my arms around her, giving her all she once looked to me for? My mind tells me I can't know for certain, yet my heart whispers the truth.
It can be argued that it is not humanly possible to keep track of all the people who come and go in our lives. But the spirit will never fail to guide us to where we are truly needed, if we will but heed the call.
Yesterday is over, but I have today . . . today when I will search my heart and all the faces I pass by. I want to remember the other Julie's in my life.
I pray I will never forget them again.