I walked into chapter earlier tonight with my secret santa present and bible in hand. I hugged my sisters as we greeted each other and asked one another how our Thanksgiving breaks went. It’s amazing how “at home” I feel when I am around them. As we found our seats, I managed to snag a chair next to my bigs as our president, Reaghen, started the evening off with announcements.
Before we knew it, it was time for our secret santa scarf exchange! I had been looking forward to this for a few weeks now, so I was so excited when I was able to give my gift to a special pledge sister of mine. Another one of my pledge sisters turned out to be my secret santa, and she did an amazing job of getting a scarf that is definitely “me”! (I texted her earlier and told her I was picking out an outfit to wear with it tomorrow…welcome to a girl’s life). Before I knew it, Reaghen was putting two chairs at the front of the room and asking the graduating seniors (all two of them) to come to the front. And so, RSC Senior Night began.
This being my first semester of RSC, I had no idea what we were doing. I had forgotten that this was even our last chapter of the semester, let alone the last chapter for two of our actives! But my heart broke when I realized that one of those chairs was for my friend and my sister in Christ, Bess Caldwell. I could feel my face start to flush as the tears slowly rolled down my cheeks. Bess had just been sitting next to me, giving me wisdom and advice about a situation that I have been struggling with, and now she was sitting ten feet away from me telling the eighty girls in the room how RSC has impacted her. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t okay with this.
You see, Bess and I met just a little over 3 years ago. I don’t remember the exact day or what we were doing. But I just remember her being persistent with me. I was going through a rough patch with the church that I had grown up in all of my life and I was struggling to find friendships and a new church home. At the time, I was going to church with one of my good friends, who is also one of Bess’s cousins. She found out that I was going to this church, and it turned out to be the same church she was going to. So Bess invited me to go to church and to bible studies with her. Like I said, she was persistent! I would go to family functions with her cousin and Bess always smiled at me, said hi, and asked about me. At the time, I was shy and a little uncomfortable talking to people that I didn’t know very well (sometimes I’m still like this…), so I just brushed off Bess’s invitations and kept to myself.
At a birthday party for one of Bess’s cousins last summer (2012), Bess came up to me and told me about Foundation-a Christian summer camp for incoming freshman/transfer students at Tech. She told me how she had really come out of her shell because of Foundation and she thought that I would love it as an incoming transfer student. I’m really not much of a summer camper, but for some reason, God thought I should go, and He was right! Bess turned out to be on the leadership team that year, and when I was worried about my health, or anything else for that matter, Bess was right there beside me.
Bess also managed to sneak in a few things about RSC and how great it was, but I had never thought about joining a sorority, so again, I brushed off what Bess said. I just continued on with my life at camp. One of the last days of camp, we were provided with a student organization fair. As I was walking through it with a few of my friends, I saw the RSC booth and decided to check it out. I was able to talk to a few of the girls, and immediately I was hooked. It was at that point that I knew it was a bad idea to brush off anything Bess said to me!
The first week of school, I went to informal Rush for RSC and was crushed to find out how much of a time commitment it was. I knew there was no way I could do RSC while I worked two jobs, took 16 hours, and still tried to take care of my health. So I sadly told Bess that I just couldn’t do it. But who knew that God would put RSC on my heart the next year and that I would Rush and get in?!
I was completely excited when, my very first chapter as a new pledge, they opened the door and there was Bess, welcoming me into RSC with her (see photos below). I couldn’t have been more happy to have her in that room with me!!
When Bess and I finally got to meet up one-on-one for the first time, it was at a Starbucks. Bess and I were able to just talk about our lives! Bess recently just got engaged this summer, so we talked about her wedding plans with Matt. She was able to give me some godly advice on a situation that I am still struggling with today. I look back on that hour and half that we spent together, and it makes me so happy that we were able to be so open and honest with one another. I know that if she hadn’t spoken those words to me that afternoon, that I would be in a different place today.
Bess and I have been able to grow closer as sisters and friends this semester, so when I raised my hand to share a memory and some encouraging words with my sisters about Bess, the tears really started pouring out. I made sure to tell Bess that I love her, and how much I look up to her. I thanked her for her wisdom and for seeking me out and pursing me. I encouraged her in her future with Matt, and cried as I told her how much of a godly woman she is and how she is my role model. I could’ve gone on all night about Bess, but we were on a time limit.
For some reason, it just really hit me that she won’t be back. I won’t see her at chapter anymore. She won’t be there every week to give me a hug and shoot me her beautiful and sweet smile. I realized tonight how much I have taken those gifts for granted this semester. I wish I could take it all back and start over. But, I am also very thankful that God has allowed Bess and I to grow together in this short amount of time, and I am SO grateful that Bess and I can continue our friendship outside of RSC. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I love Bess so much, and I am completely excited to see where The Lord leads our friendship.
Yes, I know my posts are supposed to be about living my life with Cystic Fibrosis, but there can be exceptions right?