An example of Billie enjoying life. Everyone should have a friend like Billie.
A few weeks ago, I took a trip to Mt Pleasant, SC, to visit my friend, Billie McCauley. Before she moved to Mt Pleasant, Billie lived in Edmunds, Washington. Before then, she and I were next-door neighbors in Mt Ulla, North Carolina.
The first time I met Billie was soon after my husband, Michael, and I moved in next-door. It was May 1984 and I was nine months pregnant. One day after I heard a knock on my backdoor, I looked out to see Billie standing on the back porch. She introduced herself and then handed me a tin-full of homemade chocolate-chip-cookies. I never forgot that sweet gesture.
A friendship often develops when people share a common interest and that’s what happened with Billie and I. We both taught elementary school and spent many afternoons exchanging ideas and stories of children’s antics. That was especially true when I taught music at the same school (Enochville Elementary School) as Billie. Sometimes we gave each other encouragement and sometimes we just listened. Billie says she still thinks fondly of those afternoons on her front porch. Sometimes Jim, Billie’s husband, joined in, which made for an interesting conversation from a different perspective.
When Jim passed away in 2003, I was impressed with Billie’s courage and faith as she found ways to make her life count. When I lost my husband in 2014, her example helped me to see that life is worth living even in the midst of tragedy. Some days I wanted to cover my head with a blanket and not get out of bed, but knowing God has a plan and a purpose for each of us, I knew I couldn’t give up.
One of the ways Billie found her purpose was through crafts. She loves to sew and often makes dresses out of pillowcases for little girls in orphanages. She recently sent some of those dresses to an orphanage in Mexico. She also likes to knit and in the past has made hats and scarfs for low income children.
Even with all of her projects, she finds time for fun, playing games or putting together puzzles with friends and family. In the photo above she is enjoying a game of croquet and is quite competitive as you can imagine. She also loves to travel and this past October took a trip to Canada with her daughter, Becky, her husband, Curt, and Jim’s brother, Bill. Friends on Facebook were worried about Billie when hurricane Matthew hit Mt Pleasant, but, Billie, teasing, of course, said not to worry because she had evacuated to Canada.
During my visit to Mt Pleasant this fall, Billie and I sometimes sat on her front porch as we talked. It felt comfortable, reminding us of old times sitting on the porch in Mt Ulla. Isn’t that what friendship’s all about? Even though life and circumstances may change, friends find that comfortable place to meet, reflecting on treasured memories in the midst of moving forward.
When Billie lived in Edmunds, I flew six hours across the continental USA to visit her. Edmunds is just outside of Seattle and although there’s lots to see and do there, I’m glad Billie’s living closer now. A four-hour car ride is much cheaper than a six-hour plane ride.
Thanks, Billie, for bringing me chocolate-chip-cookies so many years ago and thanks for being my friend.
Since returning home from Mt Pleasant, I’ve thought a lot about friendship. Friendship, like marriage, must be important to God because there are many references in the Bible on that topic. Here are a few of my favorites:
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9. (NIV)
A friend loveth at all times … Proverbs 17:17. (KJV)
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
What does friendship mean to you? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.