This week, my kids and I got the awesome chance to hang out with one of my college pals, Lezah, and her three kids. As sweet as it was to reconnect, it was honestly a bit of a surreal experience. Like here for a few hours a portal from fifteen years past was open and who we were then was swirling around in the room with who we are now. A myriad of personalities and moments, mingling past and present…
We went over to the house of Lezah’s former roommate and let all 7 of our collective kids romp and play while we adults caught up. We realized we were approaching nearly twenty years with these friendships. And these particular years were probably the most life-changing ones…with the exception of the first years of life.
Over these fifteen plus years, we’ve finished college, experimented with various careers, dated and married, bought houses, changed jobs, bought other houses, changed jobs again…and had a passel of kids. When our younger selves used to hang out, eating at the roomies’ house, with mom-cooked food, we thought we had life mastered. Homework projects…done, football games…there, bizarre dating schemes…schemed. It was all so ‘hard’ but we were so ‘strong’ because we’d figured it all out. We’d picked our perfect courses which would lead to our perfect careers, which would undoubtedly lead to perfect husbands and perfect lives.
Little did we know then that those perfect courses would not train us for the jobs we ended up acquiring. And some of those acquired jobs were not the ones we ended up loving. And our husbands would not be found in our workplaces…or would not be found easily…or would not be perfect. We didn’t know which of us would stay in our college town, move back home to move away again…but closer to us in the college town. We didn’t know if we would have marital troubles or postpartum depression or miscarriages or illness. We didn’t know who would marry into a family business and go to work for her husband or stay home with the kids or be a workaholic. Our perfect college plans didn’t involve health issues, child-rearing worries, and responsibilities of aging parents. Our idyllic plans were merely dreams that we hoped would come true…like finding a unicorn with a rainbow mane.
But last night, as we set out a healthy, perfect meal of hotdogs, chips, and store-bought potato salad for our perfect kids, I realized that we had inadvertently reached our perfect lives. We had food for our children, who were healthy and happily wreaking havoc in the next room. We had friendship, lasting over the years with the plan of continuing onward. We had our faith in our God who had brought us together fifteen years ago and again last night… our God who brought us around the bends of life to become the people we are now. Each of us had all we needed to be perfectly happy.
And later in the evening, while our perfect children drew perfect pictures and made up new lyrics to every ‘Frozen’ song, Lezah and I made perfectly delicious zucchini bread. And when none of the perfect children would eat, we renamed it Rainbow Unicorn bread…and they ate it all up. Perfect.
We have the promise that God knows where our rainbow-hued lives will take us, even when we don’t. Jeremiah 29:11-14 says,
11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.