Tuesday, May 18, 2010
After 25 Years
Last year was an amazing year in my life for many reasons and one that is a continuation of a story that began 25 years ago. When I was 6 years old my family moved from the US to England to start a church ministry there. We first arrived and lived in the Birmingham area in a village called Hensford. I started attending the primary/elementary school there called Hazelslade Primary School and met a sweet girl names Julie Bennett. We became really good friends. I would often go to her house for lunch and we would play in her back garden/yard on her swing-set. We went to a farm one day together and fed calves and saw sheep and other animals.
My parents were praying for the Lord to direct them to the area of England in which they were supposed to start a church ministry. Eight months after we arrived in England they decided we needed to move to the East Anglia area, which is a bit of a distance (for England!) from the village of Hensford where we were living. I was very sad because I had made some lovely friends and would miss them, especially Julie. Julie's Mum made a little photo book of pictures of us and of Julie as a going away gift for me. I gave Julie a Bible as a going away gift. I had meant to get her address and write to her, but somehow either I never did or it was misplaced. Anyway I kept that picture album and would periodically look through it and remember my dear friend, Julie, and wonder how she was doing and what she was learning in school, and whether she was still friends with the same girls we were friends with together in Hazelslade.
Over the years as I grew up in England and would clean my room and clean my closets out, I would find the picture album and wonder again. I watched a show in England called "Surprise, Surprise" which was a show where they re-connected people that couldn't find each other. I would watch that show and wonder if I could write in and tell them about my friend Julie and see if they could find her for me. Little did I know my friend Julie was growing up in Hensford watching the same show and thinking exactly the same thing.
We both got on with our lives always wondering about the other person. We seemed to have a real connection as friends that spanned time. Julie fell in love and married and has a lovely family with a little girl, Leah. She became a pharmacist and doesn't live too far away from where she grew up. I stayed in England for a while, but then moved to the USA and did 6 years of university studies, fell in love and also married.
But a month before my wedding last year, I got a message on facebook from a Julie Hobday that said "I'm trying for find an old school friend. Is it you?" in the title and the message said "My name was Julie Bennett. When I was 7 years old I had a friend called Charity Palmer, who I have been trying to get in touch with. We went to Hazelslade Primary School, Staffordshire, England. Are you the same Charity Palmer? If so please get in touch." I couldn't believe it! I started squealing with excitment! I wrote her back immediately and we basically picked up where we had left off 25 years ago when we were 7 years old. She was equally exciting telling me she nearly hit the ceiling with excitment when I wrote back to her confirming that I WAS that Charity Palmer!
She then told me how she had wanted to find me all these years too and also how that she would look at her Bible and wonder about me. She also wondered about God because she was never taken to church or Sunday school as a child. Her husband was a believer in the Lord and through him and other things she began to search for the Lord and they started attending church together and taking their little girl, Leah with them. It was amazing how God used that little New Testament Bible to bring Julie to a desire to know more about God and also to keep us friends all these years, though we were apart.
So after 25 years I've found my dear childhood friend and it's as if we were never apart. I am so thankful to God for bringing us back together and of all thing through facebook! We have yet to actually meet again in person, but I am so excited about that day, hopefully in the near future. I know I will give her the biggest hug and probably cry for joy when we meet again in person! For now, skype is a wonderful tool to keep friends and loved ones in touch when they are miles apart! And I made sure I got her address and phone number this time!!
Love you Julie!