This story is illustrated with photos from April of this year, but it began long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Well, anyway, it began long, long ago in Manchester, Missouri--in 1965, to be exact. That was the year I ended up in a 5th grade class with a girl named Gayle Meadows, and she became my first real friend. Gayle was pretty and sweet and had dark hair, and she loved horses as much as I did. On top of that, she could run like the wind. On the playground during recess, she would take me by the hand and run as fast as she could, pulling me along with her so that I, too, got a taste of what it felt like to run like the wind.
And then my family moved to Arkansas after 6th grade, and I didn't see Gayle again. I had changed schools four times before, but I had never left a friend behind. This time, moving wasn't an adventure, but a loss. After a year in Arkansas, we moved to Tennessee for two years, and then to California for 10th grade.
The biggest blessing in my life during those years was going to Bible Memory Association Camp every summer. My sisters and I memorized Bible verses during the school year to earn a week at Miracle Camp in the summer, and those were precious times indeed. For the last four or five years, we had gone to the camp near Ringgold, LA. There weren't any Miracle Camps near California, so we went all the way back to Louisiana in the summer of 1972. It felt like coming home! The first thing I did during recreation on the first day was run up to the bridle path to ride the horses--and who should I discover there but Gayle Meadows?!
At age 15, you might think I could have gotten Gayle's address and written to her so we wouldn't lose touch again. I don't know why, but that didn't happen, and we did lose touch with each other again. But God was not finished yet.
And instantly, I thought of Gayle and how she used to tow me across the playground--out of niceness, of course, not out of selfishness like Hero! And in that instant, I had an idea. I grabbed the paper (which ended up abandoned on the kitchen counter) and headed straight to my computer and Facebook. Within minutes, I had found a Gayle Meadows Gilyeart, and I knew as soon as I saw her picture that it was her! I sent her a message, attaching a photo of us with the pony at Miracle Camp, and then I waited. What if she didn't remember me? What if she only goes on Facebook once every few months? How could I wait that long? About the 10th time I checked my messages that evening, there was a message from Gayle. She not only remembered me, she had thought of me over the years and was SO excited to hear from me! And we're beginning to catch up on 38 years . . .
So there it is, my special surprise from God--out of the blue, unasked for, a "just because He loves to give good gifts" kind of blessing! It's like a circle that was broken, and He's brought the ends together and tied them up and made the circle complete. The friend that was lost for me once and that I lost again, is found! So I'm thanking the Lord with a great big hug from my heart to His . . . and I'm thanking my doggies, too!