Sunday, July 20, 2014


I walked into Sunday school at 8-years-old.  I was visiting a new church with my family.  There was a girl my age.  Her name was Trista.  She had pretty brown hair and green eyes.  Her grandma taught my class.  I didn't realize I would grow up with this girl.  She was pretty and popular.  I wanted to be those things.  I was skinny, awkward with long limbs and buck teeth.  My hair was frizzy and puffy.  I never felt pretty when I was younger.  I always wanted to look like Trista.

She became my best friend.  She got good grades and she was very smart.  She had a rough life that I didn't know of then.  I didn't know why she lived with her grandma or why I never saw her parents.  Trista was mischievous.  She did things that would get us both in trouble.  We sneaked out and took her grandma's car at 15.  She would smoke cigarettes and things like that.  I didn't smoke.  I knew what my boundaries were, and though Trista would break boundaries, I usually just tagged a long.  Trista had many boyfriends.  Like I said, she was pretty and popular, and I was mostly jealous of her.  She had everything I thought I wanted.  Years later, I learned that the jealousy was mutual, and that she didn't really like the boys.  She just wanted someone to love her.  She wanted a family.  She wanted a dad.  She wanted a mom.

She lost her mom when we were in junior high.  Her mother lived a rough life.  We found out when we came back from church camp.  She called me, I remember the crack in her voice.  Trista never cried.  Trista never let people know that she hurt.  But I always knew she did, even when other people didn't like her, or even hated her.  I knew she was in pain.  I knew it when I was young.  Nothing mean that Trista did would deter me, because somehow a God-given intuition told me that she needed me.  Not that I am or ever was an angel.  Not that I wasn't a selfish child either, I was.  But no matter what the fight, I always forgave her.  She forgave me too. When we were 19, and I was in college, she told me that she appreciated that from me.  She told me I was her best friend and that she had always wanted what I had.  She told me that no matter how many years went by, that she knew I would be there.

I was there.  I wish I had spoken up more...told her what she needed to hear.  Like, "Trista, you don't really need those pills.  You don't have to be 80 lbs."  Or "Trista you need to slow down."  Or "Trista quit running from the pain and tell someone.  Tell me.  Stop ignoring it."  I wish I had said the harder things.  I was there for her, but I didn't tell her to stop.  I didn't have a backbone then.  If I was who I am today, I would throw the pills in the toilet.  I would tell her what she needed to hear.  Because no one did that for her.  That was what she wanted and why she pushed people away.  She wanted to see if those people would still be there.  She wanted to see if they would push back.  I never pushed back.  I now wish that I had.  I think it would have made a difference.

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