The liquor store was out of the spiced Holiday Wine she loves so she bought a bottle of light, sweet red from the same vineyard and places it on my dining room table. After banishing our children to the TV room, I pull out two stemmed glasses and the corkscrew. She pours and the conversation flows. Between deep sighs and long sips, we talk about our heartaches and our hopes for the future. On a Saturday night two and a half weeks before Christmas we open many gifts without untying a single bow.
In the listening and the laughter, in the empathy and in the encouraging words, God is right there with us.
We once rode bikes with training wheels side by side down the wide, waterfront streets where we grew up. She shared secrets with me at the gate between our backyards in the days when there was no more to think about than jump rope and kickball. Even when I felt brave enough to speak to most other children, I never knew what to say so I relied on her to take the lead when they approached us. She never let me down.
How would girls so young know why they were such good friends? Even more, how would they know about the grace that brought them together in the first place?
The last half-mouthful from my glass goes down like sticky Welch’s grape juice, its sweetness tainted by the bitter alcohol. Life is messy now, with adult-sized complications, but something I say makes my friend laugh. It is the same robust giggly sound I remember hearing while splashing in the plastic kiddie pool many years ago. My heart is light and quite at home. Once again, God is showering me with love.