Jennie and I have been friends for almost 19 years; but I did not know this until I met her in 2007. The story of our friendship is one of my favorites.

Jennie’s children and my children attend the same school and I met her at a new family welcoming party when she first moved to Annapolis. The following week I recognized her at the grocery store, and knowing how hard it can be to be the “new person in town,” I made a point to say hello as we waited for my mom to order her Starbucks.

After thinking to herself that my mom was very detailed in her coffee order, Jennie noticed my mom’s Notre Dame Swimming t-shirt. Then the following dialogue began:

Jennie: Did you swim at Notre Dame?
Haley: I did.
Jennie: Did you know anyone who was in that bus accident?
Haley: Yes, I did.
Jennie: Were YOU in that bus accident? (getting louder…)
Haley: Yes, I was…(a little quieter)
Jennie: (louder still…) Did you know that poor girl who was paralyzed?
Haley: (getting quieter…) That was me…
Jennie: (LOUD) Oh my God! I prayed for you!!

With tears in our eyes we embraced and became instant friends; friends who had known each other in spirit and prayer, and yet had just met.

Jennie was a year ahead of me at Boston College and roomed with a swimmer. Notre Dame had just swam against (and at) Boston College at the National Catholic Championship meet in December 1991. The following month, our accident happened and the BC swim team was affected by the shock of the event, as were many other teams. Jennie’s roommate came back to their dorm room that day and asked Jennie to pray with her for the women of the Notre Dame swim team, especially for the two girls who were killed and the one still left paralyzed.

Over the years, Jennie thought about our accident. After marrying a Navy pilot and living a nomadic military life, Jennie was not immune from tragedy and accidents. She often wondered what had happened to that Notre Dame swimmer who was paralyzed. She found out standing in line at Starbucks, and we have been friends ever since.

How awesome to meet someone for whom you have prayed and to see that your prayers were heard. How even more awesome for me to meet someone who prayed for me, and to be able to say, Thank you.