If you are really blessed, there is the possibility that someone may enter your life and somehow, before you are even fully aware, become a close friend, a confidant, a pal who will go with you on an adventure at the drop of the proverbial hat. Such BFFs are few and far between. They are treasures that make life richer. Often closer than one’s own siblings, these are the friends who get us through the thick and thin places in life, who make the mundane glorious, who challenge us to be our best selves, and who love us even when we aren’t!
Some years back, while I was still Organist at our church, I heard that a retired musician had visited in our service one Sunday. Her reputation as a fine musician and teacher preceded her, and I freaked at the idea that someone “out there” might know when I made mistakes in the music during worship services. I had not met this woman…only knew of her and her accomplishments through the community grapevine. However, her career and mine were parallel tracks, involving elementary school music teaching and church music. She was an outstanding musician who had had a highly successful career in the Washington DC arena. So, when she decided to visit our church, I somehow felt threatened.
To my continued dismay, there came Sunday when this lady officially joined our church! And then, she joined our choir!! Imagine my chagrin when one Pentecost Sunday, she invited my husband and I to join her for dinner following the service. We were already committed that day and promised to find another time. It was only a few days later that I discovered that that particular Sunday was also her birthday….
And so, it began. The planned Sunday dinners evolved into spur-of-the-moment meals out. Any day of the week. Any time of the day. She loves many of the things I love, and we made hilarious memories, stopping at antique stores on our way to singing retreats and doctor’s appointments. I learned her patterns of living so well that one Sunday when she did not show up to sing in the choir, and didn’t even call to let me know of her absence, I knew something was terribly wrong. Surely enough, a mad dash to her home at the end of the worship service found her in agony after a fall.
She has been at the hospital for most of my surgeries, brought dish gardens to cheer me during long days of recuperation. She sends text messages nearly every day, knows my extended family quite well, and prays for all of us without ceasing. We have even made trips to see each of our extended families in the same area of East Tennessee! My life is so much richer because I can honestly claim I have a real best friend.
This special person in my life set out years ago to be my friend. Before I even knew her, she decided she liked my music making. She was musician and minister enough to understand that she could see into my very soul through the music I performed! For me, she is a rock, an example, a role model. She is my best friend, and I love her. Her name is Pat McKinster. Today, June 8, is her birthday. If you know her, send a card, or make a phone call. To her…and to your own best friend.