76: Good Night, Gracie

76: Good Night, Gracie

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

Good Night, Gracie

Can miles truly separate you from friends… If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there?

~Richard Bach

It’s not very often you meet someone who affords you the luxury of seeing life in a whole new light. The kind of friend that makes you wonder what you ever did without her.

Gracie and I have a friendship that defies explanation. I have always held the deepest belief that God works in mysterious ways. My friendship with Gracie is proof of that.

Our first conversation took place on a hot and muggy August afternoon. I received a call from a woman in Wyoming. She introduced herself as an advocate from a women’s shelter. My sister had moved to Wyoming months before and Gracie’s call was to inform me that she was helping my sister escape a potentially dangerous situation there. Gracie had helped my sister relocate to a safe house, and since my sister wasn’t allowed contact with her family, Gracie would now be the go-between who kept me up to speed on how my sister was doing.

It wasn’t easy since Wyoming was where the trouble was brewing and I was home in Chicago feeling helpless. But there was something about this soft-spoken woman that I liked. She brought a sense of calm to this volatile situation, which made it all the more devastating when, without warning, her phone calls stopped.

Even though her original reason for calling was traumatic, I found myself missing our long-distance interactions. And worst of all I had no explanation why the calls ended so abruptly.

Through some of our past conversations I had learned that we had much in common — the same stirrings, desires, and creative goals, and they were all tied together by a thread of Christian values.

Now, with the phone silent between us, I had no choice but to rationalize that maybe under different circumstances, Gracie and I could’ve possibly been the best of friends.

Little did I know the chance would come about a month later.

One night, out of the blue, the phone rang and it was Gracie. This time her reason for calling was strictly personal. Thankfully the problem that had originally brought us together was now safely resolved. This time she wasn’t calling as an advocate for my sister. She was calling as a friend. The soft-spoken voice of a stranger became the familiar voice of someone special.

We soon went from dialing each other on the phone, to letting our fingers do the talking in e-mails after soaring phone bills caused my usually patient husband to bellow, “You called Wyoming HOW many times last month?”

We are two different women from two different worlds, connecting with the same spiritual and emotional hunger, quenched only by the bonding of our kindred hearts.

When our families are tucked into peaceful slumber, our cyberspace pajama parties convene, with the tap, tap, tapping on a computer keyboard that can be heard well into the night.

We are middle-aged women whose newfound friendship has brought out the kid in each of us. We are facing menopause with the vitality that’s usually reserved for giggling teenagers. Together we are laughing our way through graying hair, expanding waistlines and wrinkles that are multiplying faster than candles on a birthday cake.

We are learning that you are never too old to be young at heart.

Under different circumstances it’s doubtful our worlds would have ever collided.

Through the most tumultuous time of my life, Gracie helped me to ride out the darkness of a brutal storm and then returned to enjoy the beauty of its rainbow, a symbol of our deep and promising friendship.

It is sometimes hard to fathom how a woman I have never physically met has become the one friend I have been searching for all my life.

I begin each new day with a good morning e-mail to my dear friend in Wyoming. And each night, after all the doors are locked and the house is settled down in the quiet of sleep, I type in my final message of the evening. “Good night Gracie,” and with those three little words I thank God for the blessing of this long-distance friend.

Her friendship fuels my soul with a deep contentment that no amount of miles can diminish. And I know that, with God’s grace, we’ll continue to weave a lifetime of memories into a tapestry of everlasting friendship and love.

~Kathy Whirity

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