Rania was married this past weekend in Utah. I felt so honored to have been invited to her temple ceremony, as it was a very intimate setting. I couldn't control my emotion as I watched her and Clint kneel across the alter and embrace each other's hands. It was beautiful. She looked like an Angel. That's what Rania has always been in my eyes...a virtuous, pure, angelic being. She appeared during a time in my life when I felt like I had no one (with the exception of my family), to call my friend. School was tough because of the rumors that had been circulating, and to my detriment, Junior High kids are ruthless, and usually believe every bit of greasy gossip they hear. So it suffices to say, I wasn't the most popular gal in the bunch. Rania and I had a math class together, and she approached me one day to ask if I'd like to be her locker partner. (My former best friend, and the girl with whom I had previously been sharing a locker, was, in fact, the very brains behind the spreading of the malicious rumor.) Rania was literally an Angel sent from heaven. I would have never known, and it wasn't until many months later that I found out, she too, had been at an all time low. Her parents were going through a divorce, and because of that, her responsibilities around the home, far exceeded those of the typical 9th grader. We always talked about how the Lord sent us to one another during that time, to help each other make it through these most challenging and painful experiences. She always encouraged me, and was a good example to me, even when I was following the wrong crowd. That was 16 years ago, and to this day, I can honestly say, that Rania is still my Angel friend. We've been through a lot together. Shortly after high school, I went to her 1st wedding. A couple of years later, she went to my mission farewell. I was there for her during her divorce. She was there for me after my mom died. She sat right next to me, and cried right along with me, during the funeral of my son. And so on, and so forth. She's my best friend. And it doesn't matter how much time has passed since the last time we spoke, we just simply pick up right where we left off...never missing a beat. We always talked about living next door to each other when we were all grown and settled. I don't know whether that dream will ever be realized; but this I do know, we will always, forever and ever, hold one another, and our friendship, close, in each other's hearts.
I love you, Ra.