And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. ~ 1 Samuel 18:1
On October 9, my very first best friend died. Just like that, she has gone into eternity. We met when were three years old in Sunday school at Hot Springs Baptist Temple in Hot Springs, Arkansas. My mother was our teacher. Mother has often recounted over the years how surprised she was at the bond Leah and I forged at such a young age. She would refer to the passage above, remarking that Leah and I were like David and Jonathan, our hearts were “knit”. When I was five years old, we changed church membership. When I was seven, we moved from Hot Springs, and with that move, Leah and I were separated.
Even though we drifted apart so many years ago, I can still recall with clarity many of our conversations. I remember our sleepovers, the gift I brought her from our trip to Six Flags over Texas, and the time she dressed up as a mummy (wrapped in toilet paper) to a Halloween themed birthday party. I remember church dinners and activities where we sat together. I remember her laugh and the way she sucked her thumb. I remember what a comfort it was to know that she would be starting school with me, I wouldn’t be alone! We weren’t allowed to sit by each other in school because the teacher said something about us talking too much. But we enjoyed recess together and lunch time!
What I remember most was that I didn’t have to work to gain Leah’s approval, nor she, mine. We instantly accepted one another just as we were. I didn’t worry about offending her. I didn’t fret over whether or not she liked me – she did, and I knew it. It was the purest and sweetest friendship I had in my childhood. I’m sure we would have had disagreements over things if had we grown up together, but I know it wouldn’t have lasted very long.
I just can’t wrap my brain completely around the fact that she is gone. I suppose in the back of my mind I imagined that we would one day cross paths and we would pick up where we left off.
Leah gave me the greatest gift on Earth: she gave me herself. She showed me early on that life is full of beautiful people and you know what?
You don’t have to look very far to find them.
I remember Leah. . .and I miss her.