About a week and a half ago, I was at the store with my friends. We were buying some things we needed for a dinner we were headed to. We filled our cart with all the things we needed, and some things we didn’t really need and proceeded to check out. Here, we divided our things, so everyone could pay for what they’d picked. My friend Maureen went first, she hadn’t been as impulsive as I had so she didn’t have too many things. She looked at the things I had and picked a few to help me out. (So sweet) As the cashier was ringing up my stuff, I pulled out my wallet and to my horror I did not have my debit card. I told the girls and before I could even start trying to figure out what had happened and what I could do, Sheila had already pulled out a 20 Dollar bill and handed it to the cashier. Luckily, I quickly remembered that I had a 20 myself, so I pulled it out and handed to her. We didn’t talk about the incident much after that. But how quickly she acted, without me even asking, has stayed with me since then. It may have been a simple act, but it shows what kind of person she is deep down. The best kind.
This month, I’ve written two posts talking about my journey with feminism and embracing my womanhood. As we near the end of this writing challenge, I thought I would honor some of the women who have been most influential in my life so far. From friends, family, teachers, bosses and acquaintances, my life has been influenced by a myriad of different women. First, let me tell you about my best friend Sheila.
I met Sheila when I first moved to Texas in 2011. She had moved here a few months before me and we ended up going to the same church. Around Spring of 2012, we both decided to join the worship team and so started hanging out a bit more. One Saturday afternoon, I gave a her a ride home after worship rehearsal. She lived closer to the church than I did, and since there was an event happening later that evening, I decided I would just stay at her place and go home after the church event. It was summer time, so we thought we would go to the pool for a little bit. We talked about different things and realized that we had so much in common. This is how our friendship began.
For the last 5 (plus) years, Sheila has been my closest ally. She is that friend who I feel comfortable telling all my secrets to without fearing judgement or “betrayal”. I’m not the same person I was 5 years ago. I have grown tremendously; Spiritually, Intellectually, Socially… A lot of that growth can be attributed to Sheila. She has taught me so much by the way she relates to people and to God.
When I first started getting close to Sheila, I learned that she had been diagnosed with an auto immune disease, not long before that. She was going through many changes and her health seemed to be deteriorating quite fast. Even the doctors weren’t exactly sure what the issue was. She has had a difficult time these past few years and I have considered it an honor to be able to witness the miracle that is her life. I love that through the struggles, she was able to be open with me (and our other close friends) when she was not in the highest of spirits. And even though I rarely had the answers, or even knew what to say, it led me to pray more and ask God more real questions. For a while, she was unable to go to school and she would spend most of her time at home. She filled her time by reading the Bible (in it’s entirety) and spending time in worship. I don’t think that is what I would do if I were in her situation. It was a huge challenge to me because at the time, I was going to Bible School, but she new more of the Bible than I did.
If I were to describe Sheila in one word, it would be “Joyful”. One time, I heard a preacher say that the true mark of a Christian is not how good and/or upright they are. It is not how much they know the Bible or can quote scriptures. It is not how much time they can spend in prayer. He said, “The true mark of a Christian, is joy.” I do believe there are many other “true marks” of a Christian, but I definitely agree that joy is a big one.
I have many more things I could write about Sheila. But I will leave it hear for now. I am glad that I met her when I did. I’m glad that I have in my life now. She is an amazing woman, and I love with all my heart.