He had been bugging me, as kids in middle school sometimes do, and I saw Tina’s hand reach across the bus seat and then the next five seconds felt like 50. Her hand met his cheek. His eyes grew wide with surprise and then wider still with a touch of anger as his head tapped the side of the school bus and bounced back.
I couldn’t tell you if he ever pulled himself together to say anything, but I know the bus driver did. She was usually pretty calm, but it was clear she did not approve of Tina’s actions. She had plenty of words for Tina, but she wouldn’t let me stick around to hear them. So I waited at the end of my driveway, hand on my hip, for Tina to finally step off the bus at our stop.
I didn’t want Tina, who wasn’t the kind of kid who got into fights, to get in trouble on my behalf, but Tina didn’t care then and she doesn’t care now. In her mind, she was stepping in to protect her friend and nothing the school might have to say about that would change her mind.
Yes, she should have talked it through with the kid. She should have asked an adult for help. There are many lessons to be learned from this story. But the lesson I walked away with was one about loyalty. Since the moment that kid’s eyes grew wide with surprise, my heart grew wide with faith in Tina and in our friendship.
I knew then that Tina was always on my side and by my side. In the 20 years of friendship since then, she left an abusive relationship, and I sent prayers and checks to help her start again, to find her confidence and worth. When my husband lost his job and depression clinched tight on his spirit, Tina reminded me where to draw strength. And when Daddy died and it felt like I didn’t have an anchor, Tina held me and through her own tears she told stories of his kindness and reminded me there is joy in heaven.
Reminded me I am loved and protected by someone even more loyal than she.
And that thought?
That’s something that will keep you right steady. That’s an anchor, friends. That’s an anchor.
Want to read with us? The hardest part about the Simply Faithful book club is selecting the book for us all to read, so this time it’s your turn to pick. Send me the name of your favorite inspirational novel by June 9. We’ll vote on my Facebook page June 10-15 and announce the winner here on June 23.