When internet dating first became a thing, I felt worried for those of you who had to use it. Like most new things, it seemed strange and dangerous. But now, it’s quite normal. And honestly, if I had to go back into the dating world, (God willing that never happens) I would use it, too. One could say I already do. Not for dating, of course, but for friendships.
I run this lovely website. Each day I talk to many women, mostly strangers I’ve met online from across the globe. Although we’ve never personally shaken hands or shared a cup of coffee, I know their stories quite well. They know mine, too. It’s a friendship much like an old fashioned Pen Pal from the early years, but this one convenes online.
2000 Leslie would have found these relationships quite odd. 2015 Leslie doesn’t know what she’d do without them.
I’ve grown close to many of these ladies throughout the past few years. But one writer, her name is Ashli, seems to be a long lost sister. I’m certain this friend could fit into my family with ease.
She said we’ve met before, back in the college days in the early 2000s, and she is friends with many of my old friends, too. But if we have met, I don’t remember. I was consumed with my own life and a hot boy turned husband back then and didn’t make time to focus on many friends.
But now, life has changed. Some may call it coincidence, I call it fate. I believe God puts people into our lives for a reason. I can pinpoint moments in my life when people come and go and, over time, have been able to calculate the exact purpose of our relationship. Maybe I watch too many sappy Nicholas Sparks movies, or maybe I’m just an overly emotional woman, (probably both), but I know there is a reason for everything.
Our online friendship has grown throughout the months. I talk to her almost daily through social media chats. Sometimes it’s just to share a laugh or a complaint or a business idea. But lately, cancer has been the topic of choice.
“Leslie,” she told me a few weeks ago, “I need prayers. They say it might be cancer.”
I prayed at first, but it wasn’t out of fear, it was for peace that she’d soon know things would be just fine. No one gets cancer at the age of 33. That only happens in those Nicholas Sparks movies I know so well.
But then, the results came back. Cancer. My friend will need chemotherapy and radiation and a double mastectomy, at age 33. It hardly seems fair.
She’s going to win this battle, I am certain. And I believe along her journey, she’ll teach us all about faith, and love and friendship and humor and how to live a beautiful life.
She has hundreds of friends and on the day when she hears the words, “cancer free,” she’ll have hundreds more. That’s just the type of woman she is. She keeps thanking us, humbled by the gratitude of strangers. But I believe those of us lucky enough to cross paths with this woman, are the ones who should be thankful.
You should meet her, too. You don’t even need one of those friendship sites, nor do you need to live in the same town. Just fire up the ole’ internet, and you’ll find a friend waiting on the other side. And if you’re the praying type, she’s always accepting those as well.
To follow Ashli’s journey, find her online at www.babyonthebrehm.blogspot.com