I ate an energy bar tonight thinking it was a granola bar, and two hours later I’m still wide awake. The house is unusually quiet, and for some reason my mind has drifted back to an old friend, one I find myself thinking about often.
When I was in Bible college there was this unbelievably beautiful girl in my education classes who one day slid her lunch tray beside mine and struck up a conversation. You know the kind of friend who grows on you slowly? Aimee wasn’t like that. She was more like a diamond you find at a gas station–an extraordinary treasure in a completely ordinary world. She spoke fluent Mandarin Chinese, had dreams the size of Antarctica, zero pretenses, and a heart as genuinely alive as her bright blue eyes. That day we talked and laughed at the lunch table until every last scrap was cleared up and put away. And from then on, I loved Aimee Powell.
We would go out to eat, order something loaded with carbs and talk about all the things college girls love to talk about–class, and boys, and friends, and Jesus, and all we hoped to do and be. I saw her giddy, and I saw her heartbroken. And I never once doubted that Aimee would lead a very grand life.
Then three years after graduating from college, on a boring January morning Aimee was killed in a car accident. And just like that, in two seconds flat, I learned that she was gone. You want to know the truth? Part of me still can’t believe it. Three years later I still cry when I think about her. I cry for myself because I miss her. I cry for the future I imagined she would have. I cry for her family because I know that if in four years she brought such joy to my life, she must’ve been sunshine in theirs.
But amid all the tears, I have a profound sense of peace when I think of Aimee. On the one hand, it seems maddeningly unfair. She never got to marry the dashingly handsome man I just knew she was destined for, never got to raise a house full of children or become famous and change the world. But as I watched the newscast about the accident, I listened to an anchor woman who didn’t even know Aimee testify about Aimee’s life–the students who loved her, the mission trips she took, the Facebook page that shared her passionate love for Jesus. And like lightning it struck me, Aimee did it. She ran the race all the way to the very end, and she crossed the finish line, faithful.
She hadn’t led the extraordinary life I always imagined she would lead. Instead she’d led one ordinary life, with extraordinary faithfulness. You know what? I think that is more inspiring than marrying a dashingly handsome man and changing the world.
Tonight I am proud of my friend. I am grateful to have been part of her beautiful life. And I am encouraged to follow her example and live this one, ordinary life of mine with all the extraordinary faithfulness only Jesus can supply, so that one day I, too, will cross the finish line victorious. This one’s for you, my beautiful friend. Wish you were here with me tonight.