She sat with tears in her eyes, holding my attention and apologizing for something that happened eight years ago.
Gratitude poured forth from my soul, soothing a wound I didn’t know was there as we talked about the hard roads she and I had traversed alone—something I often call Red Sea Roads.
These are the paths that are tough, rocky and lonely. These are the roads we walk with saturating grace of each step and it carries the good and the hard and the mess and the chaos.
Often when my kids are faced with a struggle, I tell them they have some walking to do but their God is with them.
They can visualize their Creator dividing the red sea in half and the Israelites putting one faithful step in front of the other. I’ve walked many of my own red sea roads, this friendship was one of them.
Eight years ago, my friend and I exchanged awkward smiles. Newly married, she moved to Kearney and our paths crossed on hot summer days at the playgrounds, church and MOPS.
We both learned we had the exact same due date for her third child and my fourth.
But then she got the word I had lost my baby as her pregnancy continued to flourish. I reached out for tentative play dates but the calls went unanswered. Recently, we met for a news story and then bonded on common grounds of a healthier lifestyles and marriage.
“I wish we had become better friends sooner,” I said around a mouthful of chicken and avocado salad. She winced, “Me too. I think I owe you an apology. When I heard you had lost Alex, I didn’t know what to say. But now that I’ve experienced the same kind of loss, I wished I hadn’t let the awkwardness of what I felt get in the way. It was safer to stay on middle ground.”
And there it was, tears in her eyes, her hardest truth spilling over a bread bowl of tomato bisque.
It can be hard to share what’s real but feeling alone is even harder on either road.
The middle ground is where we like to be. It’s safe, the path is wide open, steady and stable—because the alternative is un-chartered territory, walking where we never expected.
But that’s the power of friendship. That’s the power of women, if we can’t find common ground, we make our own path to each other. And in this middle place of working through something, of traversing along this road—in the space between moving courageously and waiting to reach the destination, you’ll get there, even if it’s eight years later.

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