When I moved from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Gainesville, Florida in the Winter of 2004, I did so not knowing a single person in the whole state of Florida. My move was somewhat of a whim - a chance to start fresh in a city and state where I could reinvent myself. At the time, I was but a few months removed from one of those classically bad breakups that everyone except you sees coming. I had spent the Fall of 2003 in graduate school and needed a change. Something, anything. So I went to law school.
My first law school class was torts. It was at 8:00 a.m. and I'd just spent the better part of an hour trying to find parking. Just before the start of class, a tall brunette holding a Starbucks cup approached my desk. She had a friend in my small group who told her that there was a student from Alabama in our section. Turns out, the brunette was a national championship debater in college, and one of the people she knew was my ex-boyfriend. Awkward.
Our somewhat fortuitous meeting has always proved to be a good joke between this friend and me. L has now been my friend for eight years. We stood by each other during our respective weddings, held only a couple of months apart. Her national championship debating skills served me well when she coached me and our other friend for a moot court competition. Since law school, she's continued to be a part of my life. When I had surgery a few months ago, L brought me an enormous container of salad and eggplant parmesan that was my sustinence for almost a whole week. L is the reason I had the courage to sign up for MarathonFest and run a marathon. She's on the fast track at her firm, an active member of many community organizations, and yet she still makes time for her family and friends. She's a founding member of our "Crew 16" law school click, gang signs and all.
If you were to meet her in person, you might be intimated by her perfect posture, eloquent dictation, immaculate suits, and omnipresent pearls. That is, until you got to know her. Only then would you know the girl who loves clogging, the Gators, peppermint schnapps, and a good dirty joke. Someone who would literally take a bullet for her friends. Someone whose faith humbles me to the very core.
Someone who, as this is being published, is in surgery to remove a brain tumor. It's not cancerous, but it's rare. And it's scary as Hell.
I don't think I've ever spoken about faith or God on this blog. After all, religion is a tricky subject, rife with the ability to offend a reader in a single sentence. Prosthelytizing on a blog, particularly when I don't do it in real life? It isn't me. I'll be honest. I've been going to church my whole life, but sometimes I feel like I don't know anything. And I question - a lot. But so we are clear: God: I believe in Him. I just don't always get Him.
I've spent the better part of two years trying to understand why His plan for me was to go through my struggle with infertility. There have been many times where, in the midst of the blinding pain of yet another failed cycle, I cried out to God and asked Him, "Why? Why me?" "Why does Snooki get pregnant, but not me? What has she done to deserve this gift that I have not?" OK, Snooki was a recently development, but you get the idea.
When I read the email my friend sent to us on Saturday morning that disclosed her diagnosis, I asked the same question, but with 100 times more fervency than I've ever felt for myself. And I suddenly felt very fortunate that what I have endured has never harmed my health. Why her?
Quality attracts quality, so L is not short on support or prayers. She is well-loved. She is extraordinary, a rare caliber of personhood in this universe. Funny, attractive, successful, intelligent, and kind. If anyone can do this, it's L.