I recently told an old friend that I was a pagan now. Her response was, “Wait, what? Me, too!” I laughed and wanted to cry a little. The world is a wonderfully strange place sometimes.
She and I met in grade eight, and became friends. We bonded over Star Trek: Voyager and our irritation with the obnoxious thirteen-year-old boys and our love of books. Over the summer we talked on the phone and emailed each other back and forth, rushing to the computer after every re-run of Voyager to discuss our opinions of the episode. Together our discussions helped us formulate our nascent understanding of ethics (at least it did for me), and in her I found a friend that I could truly be myself with.
We now live in different countries, and I haven’t gotten to see her since I got married eight years ago. But every time we reconnect, whether through email or IM or letters or IRL, the years melt away. A lot may have happened in the intervening time but we are still ourselves and that friendship is still there, just waiting for us to come back to it.
It’s funny sometimes, how we’ve taken different paths but come into some of the same things. We had some similarities in our upbringings – middle of the road (sometimes left-leaning, sometimes right) Christian for me, right-leaning Christian for her, and homeschooled. We were those geeks who loved Star Trek and Simon and Garfunkel, who took Latin in high school because we could, and who fell for boys with the same name for a while just because (phone conversations would be “So, how’s your Matt?” “Fine, he still isn’t in to me. How’s your Matt?” “Same.”).
And then life changed us. We didn’t date, until we did. We were all for premarital abstinence, until we weren’t, trying to admit it to each other in a phone conversation, each hoping the other wouldn’t be upset. We both developed anxiety problems, problems that were probably present when we were in high school together, even if we didn’t realize it at the time.
And oh, we were really into Jesus, until suddenly we weren’t.
It’s not really a sudden process, or it wasn’t for me. I can’t speak as to her process since we haven’t gotten the chance to discuss it much yet. But we’ve ended up as pagans, both of us. It’s one of those odd coincidences that happen and seemingly must be there for a reason. I think it means that somehow, despite time and distance, we’re meant to always be friends.