The 30-year Promise

I’ve always been the sort of person who has had several friends and a few good friends, but no best friend. Actually, my good friends are the best friends a person could ask for, but, I tend to keep myself at a distance, slightly detached for various reasons that would require a book to explain, but there are some good details in this article by Psych Alive.

There was a time way back in the day when I worked at a chicken farm. The business employed teenage girls to work on the weekends. There were probably 12-15 of us. I was one of very few from a different school district who wasn’t Catholic and came from a completely dysfunctional home. (Well, that last descriptor probably wasn’t true but it felt like it at the time).

The summer between my junior and senior year, a new girl started at the farm and we quickly became friends. Her name was also Tammy, our birthdays were only days apart, and we genuinely enjoyed talking to each other during breaks and <cough> when we should have been working.

Our paths rarely crossed outside of work unless we made a point of hanging out. She often invited me to hang out with her friends, but social settings were a little difficult for me outside my comfort zone. We hung out at each other’s houses and worked so much during the summer, we got to know each other very well. Tammy made me feel safe, and she made me laugh. I could be my awkward, dysfunctional self with her.

She had a circle of friends who went to the bar most weekends to hang out, dance, and play cards. I typically stayed home reading, watching music videos on TV. (You introverts know I’m sincere when I say that a good book or movie and your favorite snack is equivalent to a party). Several times, Tammy asked me to go with her to hang out, but I always said no.

Then one Friday night, the summer between our senior year and college, my extrovert self decided to make an appearance, and I agreed to go with her … if she would promise to go to a Christian concert with me. The idea was to step over into each other’s worlds.

I went with her and spent time with her friends, playing Euchre and dancing. It was a great time, but life interfered and she wasn’t able to attend the concert. College started, and between work, boyfriends, and life in general, the promise fell off. We married, I moved away from the area, and for the most part, we lost contact.

(Actually, that’s not true because Tammy never failed to pop up at these odd and important events in my life–a random book signing in a small town, our going away party when we moved to China).

And then a couple years ago, I went through a life-changing event that not only home from China, but back to my hometown. A mutual friend told Tammy what happened in my life, and she sought me out.

Do you have one of those friends where–even after years have gone by–you come back together as if no time has passed? I truly believe God placed Tammy in my life for such a time as this. When I came back home and needed—not just any friend—but one who understood me better than most, there was Tammy, ready to pick up where our friendship left off.

A couple months ago, she asked if I wanted to go see I Can Only Imagine. We did and cried together through the whole thing. Afterward, as we were reminiscing, I asked if she remembered the promise she made that one summer. She did and agreed to make good on it.

How appropriate that we went to see my favorite Christian singer—the amazing Danny Gokey—in my hometown at the Illumination Festival just a week and a half ago. The craziest thing is that it happened in between our 50th birthdays. Thirty years after the original promise.

A good friend always keeps her promises.

Today is Tammy’s birthday.

Happy 50th birthday, Tammy!!

You are a masterpiece, dear friend.

Any other Danny Gokey fans out there? Remember when he was on American Idol?

Have you experienced being reunited with a friend after a long period of time? What was it like?

2 thoughts on “The 30-year Promise”

  1. We went to visit our college town back in May. My two closest college friends settled there (as well as several acquaintance classmates) and it was nice to see them after 15 years (!). We never email or talk but it really was like picking up right where we left off. Except that their kids (all of them) are 6 years old or younger while ours is nearly 15.


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