Rhonda took my hands in hers and apologized. “Cabbie, I’m sorry that all those years ago I turned my back on you. I was so caught up in the newness of religion that I forgot about you. I didn’t know back then that Christianity was more than music, youth groups and Bible verses. I thought I found Jesus, but really it had been all about me. Now I know differently.”
She reached to the center of the table and pulled a clump of brown recycled-fiber napkins from the holder. She handed one to me then dabbed the corner of her right eye.
“I love you Cabbie.” Then with a smile Rhonda added, “I’ve grown up a bit since the ninth grade.” We both laughed.
“I know I hurt you, but I want you to know that I’m still your best friend … if you’ll have me.”
Through watery eyes I stared at the ground. Too much had happened since then. There were pains no apologies could heal, nightmares no green neon tank top could frighten off.
Rhonda continued. “The fact is, I’ve never forgotten you. Neither has Jesus. He died for you. He gave His life in trade for yours. All your pains, your sins, your past. All these years, you’ve been living a sinful life of death, but Jesus died so you could live. Then He was raised from the dead so you could live eternally.”
My mind flashed back to the 9th grade and Rhonda’s ravings. None of it made sense back then; but what she said that day in Starbucks did make sense. Somewhere deep inside of me I knew that what Rhonda was saying was true. I was a pathetic and helpless sinner. Jesus had died and been raised from the dead for me. I hadn’t been seeking after God, but in that instant I became aware that He’d not only been calling for me all my life, but that He had suddenly captured my soul. I finally began to live.
That was the summer of 2005. Rhonda and I are still the best of friends. Friday is movie night once again, and we usually let our husbands watch too (as long as they promise not to laugh every time we cry). We attend the same church and I lead a Bible study every Tuesday morning.
I met a wonderful and godly man named Randy, whom I love with all my heart. Despite my past, he adores me for who Jesus has made me. He reminds me all the time, “We all have a past; but Jesus is our now.”
I’m crazy about our three children: Joshua, Grace and Faith. I see in them all the things I wish I had been, and carefully share with them everything God has given to me. They are constant living reminders of how good God is to me. And as much as I love my family, I love my best friend even more. No, not Rhonda, Jesus.
** Part 4 of 4