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At first glance, tonight is a typical night for Ari (my best friend/roommate) and I. I’m sitting at the table, unwrapping my Chick-Fil-A sandwich and Ari is in the kitchen making her famous guacamole recipe that she refuses to share with me even though I’ve begged her a million times. However, instead of sitting at our house, we are in a rental house an hour south, where Ari and her family have been staying since she was diagnosed with cancer a month ago.

Ari and I met four years ago, coming out of break ups, navigating jobs, friendships, all the life that comes along in your mid-twenties. I think there’s a reason we’ve always loved the TV show friends. If you know the uber popular theme song then you know it goes, “Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A”, yeah, it was easy for us to relate to.

We bonded quickly over debates of rap vs country music, beach days and eventually became inseparable, sheltering together during COVID. Our house, in the little beach town of what we refer to as Carp, has always felt like a little slice of Eden-someplace pure, untouchable, full of goodness, even amidst the craziness your 20’s can present you with.

Back in the kitchen, Ari has now finished the guac and has moved onto looking at wigs on Amazon. Asking my opinion and rattling on about this color vs that - facing everything ahead of her with the bravery everyone would expect of her, but also none of us would ever require from her. Her hair will fall out soon, but that doesn’t seem to phase her. She’s already determined that this is just another step on her journey. No pain without purpose, it’s written in her instagram bio and now seemingly, all over her life.

An avocado slips from her hand, her dexterity already deteriorating from the first round of chemo, but she pushes it to the side anyways as she deems it, “not fresh enough anyways” -only the finest for Ari’s guac, I know that by now.

But what I don’t know is how to accept the news of the last month. Her and I have lived life attached at the hip the last four years and to see her life drastically depart from mine overnight has left so many questions in my heart.

Questions that put God in the interrogation chair and anxiety and anger as the intently cruel investigator. How could any of this be right? She doesn’t deserve this. Why does life seem so unfair? The statements and questions are endless.

As I shared my many thoughts with a close mentor of mine she had an insight for me. She said, “Of course this feels unfair, because she, and we, were never meant for this, for a life of sickness and death.” I furrowed my brows, a little caught off guard, “Then what are we made for?”, because in my head, all that stuff tends to come hand in hand with being a human on this earth, whether you include God in that equation or not. “Eden”, she whispered.

Ah, Eden. A place of goodness, a place where sickness and death did not claim our bodies. What God wanted and meant for us, before the story went sideways.

Her dad is now lingering in the kitchen, waiting to join his daughter for dinner. I know it’s time for me to go. I head out into a damp, early March evening, climb back up into my truck to head north to Carp, trusting that God has redemption and healing up ahead for Ari, for her body and, ultimately, Eden.

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