4 years ago today, I lost my closest friend of 32 years. She was my Young Life leader in high school & even though she was a decade older, I knew then, that our connection was the deep soulful one I had been in search of. In many ways, we grew up together-challenging, supporting & most of all, seeking deeper insight & understanding of the mysteries of this God of transcendent love we cherished. We weren’t afraid to ask questions, own our doubts, our fears & wrestle with possibilities. Our faith was not threatened by exploring & opening our hearts to follow the leading of God’s Spirit. When we faced difficult times from divorce to cancer, we rolled up our sleeves & forged through them together as best we could. We weren’t afraid of being real & transparent…we often shared that we felt our love for each other was enough to heal whatever we faced. We walked though my marriage collapsing after 23 years & her 8 year journey through cancer. We were there to pick up the pieces & put each other back together after countless times of falling apart. Grasping for hope, strength and desperately seeking to be understood were but a few of the the priceless gifts we gave to each other. We had little to no need to explain, some how we just knew, on a level that goes beyond words, what the other one was going through. We discovered that few people, even our well-meaning friends, had it in them to go the distance when facing such long term challenges such as ours- but our friendship never wavered and instead we developed an unbreakable bond through our shared struggles. Marci reassured me over and over that I was indeed wanted & loved, though I felt anything but, and I went through God- awful cleanses with her & adjusted my entire way of eating to reflect my solidarity even to the exclusion of my passionate affair with chocolate. We prayed, did yoga, mediated, laughed, cried, panicked, compared our poop, walked, talked for hours, ate bland healthy food together [trying to fool ourselves into believing it tasted scrumptious] & sprawled in the grass under the trees holding hands while looking up to the sky and visualizing God’s Spirit showering upon us radiate health & well-being. There is a depth of loneliness that I cannot escape since her death. Marci wrote the poem above about me and I realize, that it is more of a reflection of who we were & are to each other…now & always.