By Jennie Gollehon

You don’t know this, but I prayed for you. I prayed for you long before I knew you. I prayed out of loneliness and despair. I prayed out of fear and in hope. I prayed out of need and in envy.

I prayed for a friend, someone to talk to and listen to. I prayed for a friend to laugh with and cry with. I prayed for a friend who would understand. I prayed for a fellow coffee drinker. I prayed for a companion to walk around the neighborhood. I prayed for camaraderie, because I missed it.

I prayed out of envy of others and what I perceived they had. I prayed out of need for someone to make me feel welcome in this new place. I prayed out of desperation for a kindred soul to need my friendship as much as I needed theirs. I prayed for all the things I missed and left behind when we moved. I prayed for what I thought I needed.

You may not know this, but before I met any of you, I needed you. I needed a friend to see me undone and unmade. To see me without makeup and in yesterday’s pajamas. I needed a friend to share coffee and stories with. I needed a friend and God sent me you.

At first, I may not have recognized you. Maybe I was timid or nervous in a new environment. Maybe I was trying to hide my eagerness for a friend, not wanting to scare people off. Maybe I was aloof for fear of rejection. But then, as days and weeks and months passed by and our bonds grew stronger, I suddenly saw you for what you were, an answer to my prayers.

I suddenly saw you for what you were, an answer to my prayers.

Together we stroll over the molehills of worry that seep into our lives. We rise above the mountainous struggles of parenting, sleep deprivation, and feelings of inadequacy in whatever task we are trying to tackle. Together, we understand, we respect, we commiserate, we laugh, and we achieve. The best moments are the ones that happen without a plan; an impromptu play date, a shared ride, a pre-shower walk, a joint library visit, a conversation.

Here I am, set to move on once again and I cry. I prayed for you and God answered my prayers. I am eternal grateful for it. I wouldn’t trade a minute, a moment, or a day. Yet, I wish two things: that I met you all sooner and most importantly, that I could take you all with me. For when I move…and I will soon…I’ll be left with a void, much like the one you filled when I moved here, but greater. And once again, I’ll pray and I’ll pine and I’ll cry to God for friends like you. In time, I hope God answers my prayers again and while I’m thankful he answered them here when he did, I’m sad I have to leave you all behind.

Before I go, I want you to know, that you have impacted my life in ways I will be left to process for years to come. You have taught me a form of friendship I never knew I was missing. Because when God answered my prayers, he answered more than what I was praying for, he answered the requests I didn’t even know how to ask.

Before I knew you, I prayed for you. And since I know you, I’ll continue to pray for you. I’ll miss our conversations and impromptu moments and mutual feelings of complete friendship. But most importantly, I’ll miss you my dear friends, because you cannot be replaced.