I said goodbye to one of my very good friends yesterday. She is going to become a sister in Italy, and I won't see her for a year. I can't even write for four more years. It is such a bittersweet occasion - I'm rejoicing wholeheartedly for her beautiful vocation, but my heart is anguished with missing her.
She was the first best friend I had, and we were fast friends from the time we met five and a half years ago, when she was 13 and I was 10. For that first year and a half or so, we really were like "one soul in two bodies". We told each other just about everything and loved one another devotedly.
But clouds must shadow every friendship, and they did ours. Hasty words were spoken, feelings hurt on both sides, and for about a year we didn't even speak to each other. We were each going through very different times in our lives - I was becoming a teenager, but she was becoming a young lady.
Thanks be to God, we completely forgave and forgot about two years ago. Things could naturally never be as they used to be, but soon we were once again as close as we had been, just in a different and more mature way.
This past summer I didn't talk to her as much as I wish I had. It was a very busy, stressful summer for both of us, but certainly more so for her. I think that whenever we have to say goodbye to someone dear to us, we will always wish we had had more time with them.
It makes me miserable to think that I'll never celebrate another Christmas or Easter or birthday with her, that if I get married she won't be a part of the wedding, that she will most likely not see my kids when they are babies, that I won't be able to tell her all about college - simply that our lives are now going to be forever separate. She won't be there to laugh with me, to cry with me, to comfort me when I need it.
But I am happy for her - so happy! She has been given a beautiful and mind-blowingly wonderful vocation. She'll be living in a beautiful country, be part of a religious order, be the spouse of Our Lord Himself. She'll be so happy.
There was a Mass for her a few weeks ago, and in his sermon our priest said she is going to be one of the "missing links in the puzzle of life". He said that vocations are like many steps on the ladder - some are closer to heaven, others farther away, but we need all of them or else we wouldn't have a ladder. The steps closest to heaven are those occupied by priests, sisters, and brothers, and lately we've had a shortage of them. He said that, hopefully, she will be one of the missing links - fill in a gap at the top of the ladder.
This is my acknowledgment of her, you could say. I'm happy that she is my friend, that we have so many good memories, that she was blessed with such a beautiful vocation. I miss her terribly - I always will, and I'll always look forward to seeing her. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I ask your prayers for her, on her behalf.