Friday, April 11, 2014

There're No Friends Like Old Friends

            She’s the toughest little cookie I know. Of all the blessings in my life, my girlfriends I cherish the most, and my UT college roommate is top o’ the list. We may go a year or two between visits, but the second life affords us the opportunity, we pick up right where we left off as only old friends can do.

            Different as night and day, Mary Margaret and I still laugh about the way we met. I enter my UT dorm room, having been randomly assigned my roommate for the year. She got a post card on the matter. Mine got lost in the mail, so I had no idea what I was in for. I turned the corner to spot the tiniest little girl with the largest mane of reddish blonde hair I’d ever seen. Alongside and helping her stood her Southern Belle mother hanging the gosh awfulest lot of preppy clothes, all monogrammed with her signature MMM, most piped in pink or green.
            (“Dear Lord” I thought. “What have you signed me on for?”)
            Of course she was going through sorority rush. I, on the other hand, was holding down 3 part time jobs and racing to get through school so as to get to work as quickly as possible. I had career on the brain. She, M.R.S. on the brain. (Before it was all said and done, she concluded a civil engineering degree was easier. Today she designs bridges for a living, and is married to a great guy, proving you can have it all, if you manage it right.)
            More than reminiscing on the past, however, when we get together it’s seldom spent recalling our glory days (for we think we are living them now). Instead, we jump immediately to the here and now, Why? Because life has taught us that time is precious and carpe diem is a motto to strive for. We’re good at jumping straight to the important stuff, and are very skilled at cramming a whole lot of catch up into a fairly short window of time.
            MM is a breast cancer survivor. On top of this, she survived a near fatal car crash in her 30s when a tractor-trailer crossed over the interstate median hitting her straight on. She was by her mother’s side as she battled cancer, and just last year she held her brother’s hand as he too, made his transition. She’s tough as nails, and sweet as honey…In short, the epitome of a “steel magnolia” ~a Southern Belle through and through.
While our lives have taken us down vastly different paths (she, coming from the left half of her brain, I, much preferring my right), when together, our differences are unnoticeable, thanks to one common denominator: our mutual respect for the priceless gift of friendship. 

1 comment:

  1. Karlen - I have no doubt our matchup as roommates was carefully planned. Definitely could not have survived life w/o you in it - not to mention the journey would not have been nearly as fun & eventful! You have been a wonderful example to me & so many others to "Work Hard, but not to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (Colossians 3:23) Your commitment to the homeless is unmatchable. Thank you for all you do! Enjoyed our visit dear friend & looking forward to the next one - hopefully around harvest time!!