Words by Rebecca Rice
In my personal history, that night will be highlighted as one of those formative moments. You know the ones that get a whole chapter as either a foreshadowing or a springboard moment? That's what that night was for me, and I think for Hannah as well. I saw her compassion that night. Though she is stubborn, she put it aside to be kind to someone who was lonely. I've gone over this night time and time again through the years, whether it’s simply in my head or in cards and letters to Hannah. Birthday cards always reference how grateful I am for her compassion that night. For me, that night shaped the next decade plus.
Hannah offered to play a board game with me, Life. It was New Year’s Eve and we were at a church party with no real friends between us. In a way, it could be looked at as a 9- and 10-year-old coping with a situation they really didn’t want to be in. If that’s what it started out as I’m not upset because it became so much more. The two of us sat on the floor, while the party went on upstairs, and played the game. We talked, cheered each other on when we reached different parts of the game, and helped each other decide whether or not to go to college and which career card to keep. We played a game, simple as that.
We’ve been friends now for almost 14 years.
As the game of Life highlighted, life gets unpredictable. I've always had my game plan, in the game and in general. I've had expectations of what I wanted, and I know Hannah has too. It's difficult when reality doesn't match up with the plan. You get that job card that isn't what you were expecting, the house, insurance, salary, kids, and car either are overwhelming or disappointing. The game plan rarely goes as intended. And we've been with each other as we've learned that. Jobs, school, relationships, plans, expectations, they all changed for us. For a long time our cars stayed even, on the same route. Then I went to college and Hannah started missions and working. Still our cars were fairly close. Her car took a 6 month trip overseas but she came back. I commuted to college and so for the most part our spare time was spent with each other. Then in the beginning of 2016 our cars took different routes and for me the road felt really bumpy. I graduated and got “new career cards” and then Hannah got engaged. For the first time we were getting different “bonuses” and it was difficult for me. I could see that the roads ahead of us had the potential to veer apart.
Together, we've shared our disappointments and victories. We've been surprised, bemused, confused, frustrated, elated, saddened, and encouraged. And through it all, we have cheered each other on. We haven't always been side by side, this past year and a half or so have been a testament to that. At times one of us has taken bounds and leaps forward and the other has followed at a distance. These times of distance have always been hard for me. I like being close to Hannah. For the first decade of our friendship, I rarely went 5 days without seeing her, save vacations and her time in missions. We were spoiled, and I got used to it. My silent salve is that even at a distance we've cheered each other on. We may forget at times, or get caught up in what we're doing and the moves we're making, but in the end, we remember.
I never expected that game to mean so much to me, then again, I didn’t expect that game to birth the friendship it did. I'm sentimental, and as I've thought through that night so long ago that game has become a beautiful analogy for me. Every time we have played the game, including the first time, we cheer when each person makes it to the retirement community. We always played competitively, wanting to know who ended up with the most money, but in the end we've celebrated the end of the game together. We celebrate that we’ve all made it. And that is my hope and prayer for our friendship as we go forward. That we will continue to be in each other's corners cheering each other on, whether we're close or at a distance.
Rebecca is a die hard romantic who fell in love with stories and has never recovered. She volunteers as the blog manager for Love True in her spare time, and spends every other second perfecting her baking, badminton game, and being the best aunt to her nieces and nephew she can be.