You can learn things in life at the strangest places.
Including old school roller rinks.
I went to a birthday party for Maddie (I’ve mentioned her many times before), who is what I refer to as one of my “forever friends.” We’ve been friends since we were 3 years old, and she is one of those people I know will always be in my life. Seeing as how she’s known me so long, she really gets me, and she never fails to be there for me when I really need her. Simply put, she’s a forever friend.
Maddie joined me in the Dirty 30 Club (or 30 Flirty and Thriving–or whatever you want to call it) on Saturday, and there was obviously only one logical way to celebrate this milestone in her life: living it up at a roller skating rink. When she first told me this is what we were doing for her party, I will admit that I was pretty excited. Call me a kid of the ’90s (because I am), but I love going to roller skating rinks. You get to jam out to music while going round and round a gym floor surface, and at some point you completely forget your age and remember the reason you’re there: to have fun. I thought it was pure genius to celebrate entering the grown-up decade by taking it back to the rink.
Maddie is one of those individuals who knows everyone. Seriously. I don’t think there’s a person she doesn’t know. (She probably knows you.) So, I knew there would be people at her party I don’t know and some I do. When we started skating, the married and dating couples were paired off, while those who had come together were making their laps with one another. I had come by myself, so I was skating on my own then stopping and chatting with various people but trying not to third wheel it too much.
I try not to let my mind go here too often, but because I’m one of the only people in my life I know who isn’t dating, in a relationship or married, I couldn’t help but let the thought cross my mind: Will I ever have someone to skate with me? While I don’t mind being single–even if it is for the rest of my life–some moments are more difficult than others.
And skating all by yourself is one of those moments.
But then, out of nowhere, Maddie came speed skating beside me, grabbed me by the hand and pulled me with her around the rink. This happened more than once throughout the night, and when Maddie knew how excited I was when “Shake It Off” started playing (never mind that I requested it specifically), she skated/sang/danced with me all around the rink for the entire song. (I told you–she gets me.) Plus, earlier in the night when I had told Maddie how awesome it was that she had been issued skates that lit up, she left and came back with a glow bracelet for me to wear. She’s always looking out for people. She also participated in the rink races with me. Usually only the little kids take part in the races, but I like to, as well. They’re fun, and there’s no real pressure. So, when no one would step out on the floor with me, Maddie did, and we lined up next to three young girls who kicked our tails. I got fifth place. (If you just did the math there, you can judge me all you want. I have no shame.)
I was reminded that night why it’s so important to have forever friends–they pick you up and pull you along when you need it most. They dance with you. They step on the starting line with you. They are simply there with you and for you.
Life isn’t meant to be spent alone. Even Jesus had men He surrounded Himself with to do life together. My pastor at church on Sunday was talking about serving others and the way we can live in order to serve in the way Jesus served. We focused on the passage in which Jesus somehow used five loaves of bread and two fish to feed thousands. As I sat there, I thought back to the night before and how much Maddie is like Jesus in the way she serves people, especially those she cares about most. I was reminded of how often God shows Himself through other people. In a moment when I needed to get away from my thoughts of lonely skating, one of my best friends swept in and brought the fun.
We all need people in our lives. Even if you end up single forever, you won’t ever be completely alone. You’ll have those forever friends who will come alongside you and give you the encouragement you need to keep your head up and your hips swaying to the beat.
And you can always count on someone to step away from the sidelines and boldly step on the starting line, only to be dominated by kids more than half your age as they leave you in the dust from their skates’ wheels.
And that is true friendship.