A Good Friend Is Hard To Find

Micah with his proud “auntie Teri”

When I met Teri, I met a friend for life.
We were both bagging groceries at Publix…I was new at the business of filling paper or plastic but Teri had been doing it for years yet still exuded an enthusiasm for the relatively menial task, an excitement and thankfulness which I quickly lost.

We forged an unlikely friendship that year and because we lived right down the street from each other, I regularly picked Teri up in the car I drove back at 18, a sporty red Honda Civic, and we’d get ice cream, coffee, go to Borders Bookstore or to the local movie theater. Teri always begged to stay the night and so we’d often have a sleep over as well.

I knew Teri was wanting more than just a chance to stay the night. She was reveling in the opportunity to experience a real home; a clean, stable environment where she would be loved and treated with kindness…civility. Where she could be with her adopted mom and dad as she unabashedly calls my parents.

The opportunity to see Teri regularly is one I will always be thankful for. Every outing was laced with a beauty and grace I can not describe. She touched me in her simple, understated faith in God and determination to live with joy despite all odds.

She eagerly drove to First Baptist Atlanta with me on many Sundays and I remember being brought to tears on several occasions as she sang her favorite worship songs at the top of her lungs. “Shout to the North and the South” was one I especially associate with her…

“Men of faith rise up and sing,
Of our great and glorious king,
He is strong when you feel weak,
In your brokenness complete…

Shout to the North and the South,
Sing to the East and the West,
Jesus is savior to all,
He’s Lord of heaven and earth!”

Teri has cerebral palsy. People will always look at us when we’re out together because of her obvious physical disabilities. Whether they are looks of mere curiosity or disdain I do not know but one thing is certain: she is a blessing, wherever she treads and I am proud to walk beside such an inspiring individual.

Now, we’re both embarking on the adventures of our lives, although I go with both hands full of earthly love while she goes starving for earthly affection but rich in God’s love. I go to New York and she is moving to a group home in Idaho next year. She sees this as a window of opportunity, a place abounding with possible friendships, surrounded by individuals similar to herself.

Similar, not different. What she’s always been missing.

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7 Responses to A Good Friend Is Hard To Find

  1. Grace says:

    What a beautiful picture! She has called me and I tried calling her back however could not get a hold of her! She is one of the most amazing women.

  2. Johannah says:

    Susanna,You have a grand and grace-filled heart. I admire the love you and Teri have for one another. Love you, Jo

  3. Christy says:

    Susanna, Thank you so much for this post. I have a very similar situation with a friend who is disabled. However, I, unlike you, have allowed that friendship to slide over the past two years. Your post really convicted me and encouraged me to pursue my friend again, for both of our sakes. Thanks so much for sharing what you did about Teri. And do lets get together! I can’t wait to hear all about New York! Lots of love, Christy

  4. Shannon says:

    I’m glad that Teri is taking steps in discovering a new place and starting a new chapter in her life. Your lives are mirroring one another…isn’t it incredible?

  5. Daniel says:

    Whoa, I used to be a bagger at Publix too. :)

  6. bchallies says:

    We will miss Teri!

  7. Jeph and Heidi says:

    Wow Susanna…this amazes me! You really do have a very loving and gracious heart. How sweet!

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