I have this friend.
I met her in college. We were both eighteen, but she was already so much older. It was like she was the dorm mother, always there to wipe a tear, always ready to make you a big pot of tea and listen to your sorrows. And she was a great cook. (Still is.) It's funny to think of dorm and hospitality in the same breath, but somehow she managed it.
I had different priorities. I was planning to work for the International Justice Mission at the time. I was working on my French and was certain I'd be using it in international development. I wanted to be important. I wanted to do something big, something that would make a measurable difference in the world. I remember telling a group of friends that I was more interested in planning my career than dreaming about marriage and children.
We got older. My friend travelled. She learned languages. And while she was doing that, I settled down and got married.
I can't tell you where my friend is today--it would, quite literally, compromise her safety. She's working for peace and she's working for justice and she's working for the restoration of all things. The global community will be stronger, more vibrant because of her life. Whenever I talk to her I tell her to be safe, and I tell her that she's free to come live in my neighborhood so we can swap lasagna recipes and have Christmas present wrapping parties. And I feel like I'm telling Joan of Arc to stay home and churn the butter.
And me? I live in a valley not far from the mountains. I share my life with my husband, and our hopes for the future are for children, pets, a backyard with lots of trees and maybe a creek, and a loaf of bread in the oven. I pray that our home will ring with the laughter of good friends. That's it.
I have a quiet life.
And I can't imagine being happier. I can hardly remember a time when I didn't want this, and not for the world would I trade my life for my friend's. Nor would she trade hers for mine. In spite of our best-laid plans, I think we've both ended up exactly where we were supposed to be.
How's that for happy endings?