thanks for noticin' me

I haven't been truly surprised very many times in my life. But last week, someone surprised me with something that made my breath catch and my eyes well.

I hadn't seen Stacey since we were roommates in '97 when we interned together at a missions organization. We've kept in touch off and on over the years and when Stacey joined Facebook recently, she found me and added me as a friend. Following the link over to the Grit, she got caught up on my ramblings of the past few months and realized I'm in Ohio.

She lives in Ohio.

After a few messages back and forth, we realized we're only 45 minutes away from each other. So we met up for lunch on Friday. It was so great to get caught up, see pictures of her kids, meet her husband and sister. Stacey seemed just as I remembered her, from the way her eyes disappear when she laughs to the warmth and love that radiates from her. We had a great visit.

We walked out to our cars to say goodbye and Stacey said she had something for me. The tuft of black "fur" peeking out the top of the gift bag seemed so familiar. A quick peek inside confirmed it. I couldn't contain myself. "He's the same as the Eeyore I had at the internship!"

"It is the same. It's the one you gave me."

In that instant, my dam(n) memory wall broke and it all came flooding back. The day we said our tearful goodbyes to each other, I took Eeyore off my bed (where he'd lived all year) and gave him to Stacey. I wanted her to take him with her, kind of like a hug to-go, and I'd hoped he'd remind her of how much I love her. I hadn't even remembered doing that until she spoke those words.

All these years later, Stacey still had Eeyore.

And she gave him back to me for all the same reasons I'd given him to her.

What a wonderful surprise.