I was a new graduate from nursing school, leaving for a getaway for the first time in 11 years with my husband. As I was packing at the last minute, I threw in my Giving Key Necklace that I had kept for four years. Stamped on it was the word "GRACE."
We had multiple arrangements set up to reconnect with dear friends from our past throughout the trip. One of our first dinner dates was with a camp best friend of mine from 30 years ago. We had not seen each other in 26 years but had stayed connected through social media.
Throughout the previous year, I had learned of her bravery towards sobriety over phone calls and text messages. I listened as she shared stories of abandonment from friends, of the support she received in unexpected places, and of the personal strength she had gained.
I had been racking my brain for weeks and had even reached out to others who had been through similar struggles to try and come up with the perfect gift for her, but I had no luck.
I had always felt that when the time was right to relinquish and pass on my key I would just suddenly know.
As my husband and I were driving towards her home, tears filled my eyes...I knew it was time. It was like a wave of emotion overtaking me; like the Holy Spirit telling me this was my moment.
After a few hours of visiting and catching up, I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I removed my key from around my neck and said, “It’s time I pass this on to you. GRACE. Please give it to yourself and extend it to those that have not extended it to you over the last year.”
Now she wears her key on a chain with St. Frances. It warms my heart to know that she treasures this gift, as her friendship has been a treasure to me for 30 years.
When I received my key as a Christmas gift years ago I had always thought I would be led to give it to a stranger, but life often surprises us and sometimes GRACE comes in unexpected ways.