I met the woman I call my friend and twin on our first day of our freshman year of college. During our orientation class, we discovered how much we had in common. For one thing, we were the same height and weight. That was determined during a group exercise when the team was supposed to carry the lightest member of the team across a ravine.
As we got to know each other, we discovered we were a lot alike. We shared a love of books and strawberry shortcake among many other things.
We were together so much that we became known as the twins. When we were separate, someone would ask “where’s your twin?”
We had our differences, too. My friend was from the city of Detroit, and I was a farm girl.
Here is a photo of us taken in college:
We never cared about our differences, because they were outweighed by our similarities. We became best friends and did everything together. In our sophomore year we became roommates. We supported each other through the good times and the heartaches.
Before we left college at the end of our second year, we went to a pet store together and each got a kitten, which we kept hidden in our dorm room for the few days before we took them home with us.
Neither of us went back to the college after that summer. We lost touch with each other for a few years.
Then she called and asked me to be in her wedding. I got engaged and started planning a wedding, too. We stood up with each other in our weddings just a few weeks apart.
We didn’t keep in close touch after our weddings, except an occasional letter or photo. Then a few years ago, we reconnected on Facebook and our friendship picked up like we had never been apart.
We talked about getting our families together. We each have three children. She has a son-daughter-son, I have a son-daughter-son. We both married Christian men. Her marriage is 30 years strong, but I lost my husband after 20 years. My friend was very supportive of me during that time.
Our paths may have paralleled each other’s, but not everything about our lives is the same. When the tragic murder of George Floyd turned into protests, I sent my friend a message. I wanted to understand what was happening. We talked on the phone. She shared her fears for her family, and I became aware of the depth of racism in our country.
My friend lives in fear for her family’s safety. She prays every day that her children will not be racially profiled or even killed by the police just for the color of their skin. Her husband’s life is in danger every time he leaves the house. She lives in fear just for being the person God made her.
In contrast, my oldest son can drive anywhere and unless he is caught in a traffic violation, he won’t be stopped by the police. Her oldest son is repeatedly stopped and harassed by police. My daughter will never face job discrimination because of the color of her skin. My friend has herself been discriminated against and her daughter could be one day. My youngest son can walk around our neighborhood and not raise an eyebrow. Her son has to be careful where he goes on his bike.
I am grateful for my friend. God brought us together and gave us a gift of lasting friendship. Racism can’t touch our friendship. I respect what she has been going through and want to be a part of the solution to end racial injustice.
I stand in support of my friend and her family. #BlackLivesMatter.