Carol Maddle is my very best friend in the whole world. And she laughs about it, because that's the exact way I introduce her. Once at an oral surgeon's office I had put her as an emergency contact person. The form asked what is the relationship to the patient, so I put, 'My very best friend in the whole world.' She's Ryan's mom, or Jason's mom, or Jack's wife. And Fredericka's very best friend in the whole world.
We have been friends for six years. And I know she is the direct result of God's intervention in my life. He likes doing that to me. He fills me up with so many wonderful things that I have to stand back and give Him the thumbs up sign, and hoot, holler and cheer while doing it.
I used to go to work a different way than I do now. And I mean to tell you, it was awesome. One early spring morning I was riding along listening to Joy FM, my favorite radio station. All southern gospel music. And I was belting 'em out at the top of my lungs. Singing for all I was worth. As I hit Patterson, halfway down, on the right side were the most beautiful forsythia bushes you could ever imagine. So brightly yellow that they hit your eyeballs two miles before you even reached them.
I told Carol and Dora that God purposely put them there for my personal enjoyment. Carol says I'm wrong. Dora is more blunt, and direct to the point. She says I'm crazy. I told Carol He did too plant them there for me to enjoy on my way to work. We kept at it. "Did too!" "Did not!" "Did." "Didn't." And we ping-ponged back and forth, with each of us believing we were right and the other one was wrong. Of course she knows I'm right and she's not, she just can't bring herself to admit it.
The blooms of yellow tap-danced all over my eyes and filled me with joy. Not happiness mind you, but joy. That was the year I decided that the color of joy was yellow. I mean how sad could you be if you're around yellow? (And in case you don't know, it's a little bit. A very tiny little bit.) There was the forsythia on my right and golden sunrise to my left. An orange ball rising above the horizon. Sky colors you only hear about in a fairytale, and yet there it was.
God had outdone Himself and I wanted Him to know. I desperately needed to be the one to tell Him. After all, He and I are good buddies, we're friends. We go back a long way, a span of forty years.
I was singing along with Michael Combs on the radio, yellow dancing on my eyeballs, sunrise gripping my emotions, with no inhibitions in sight. I stuck my fist out the window, giving God a big thumbs up, and saying (actually I was shouting) "Way to go God! You outdid yourself this morning Lord." The man in the turn lane next to me seemed a little confused. But that was okay. I was going to UN-confuse him. He looked at me and tried to smile. He was unsuccessful.
I looked at him and asked, "Isn't that about the most beautiful sunrise you've ever seen? I mean really, look at it. Isn't that, like totally cool?"
I never heard his answer. His motor drowned him out as he sped away. When the light turned green he took off. I never knew you could go from zero to a hundred ten in two seconds flat. I told Carol and she said it was a miracle I didn't scare him so bad he drove up the sidewalk.
I love Carol. She's the friend I've waited for all my life. We have so much in common, and so many contrasts and differences that it amazes me how well we know the 'inside Fredericka' and the 'inside Carol'. I've told her things that I will never share with anyone else. She and I can complete each other' s thought so well, it's like being married. She helps me see what I need to see, instead of what I want to see. I return the favor. She has helped me see that too often I beat myself up over things that I have no control over. She helps me keep my failures in perspective, and taught me that it's okay to acknowledge my accomplishments.
I use to think that it was her son Ryan that brought us together, but it was really God. He just let Ryan get the credit for our connection. We love each other like sisters. It seems like we've known each other our whole lives, because we know each other so well. After we were friends a while she confided in me that I was the first Christian she knew who was 'a real human' and I wasn't quite sure how I needed to take it.
Not to worry, she was more than happy to wisen me up. I love the Lord with all my heart, and it's obvious to anyone around me. But I had faults and I didn't try to act 'churchy'. I was just so...so human. I told her I guess that I'd take that as a compliment.
Carol and I have such a strong friendship that we let the other one see us as we truly are, no cover-ups, no facades, no reservations.
Bob and Jack can't understand how the two of us can spend the entire day together, and still talk on the phone for two hours that night. I told Bob you had to be a woman to understand a friendship that deep. That guys don't need best friends the way women do. I always wanted a Christian friend that I could say, "This is my best friend in the whole world." God obliged me when He sent me Carol. He probably got a little tired of me talking His ear off. He said it was Carol's turn for a while.