We met for a simple summer lunch, both showing up in our straw sunhats. I had barely slipped into the booth before we both started talking at once. “Let me tell you the idea that came to me last night.” She announced. “I’m getting edibles.” My mind raced, trying to make sense out of what she was saying. I asked a few questions but she couldn’t hear me. “I forgot to put my hearing aid in,” she shouts. “But you know what I’m talking about.” She lowers her voice, mouthing the next word to me. Now it’s my turn not to hear. She raises her voice, trying to get her point across without the man sitting three feet away hearing. “I don’t think smoking the stuff is good for me, especially with my cough.” she finally says loud and clear. “So I’m getting edibles.”

Suddenly I realize what she’s talking about and I begin to laugh. And then I can’t stop. Soon she joins in and we are doubled over with laughter. Imagine a small, 85-year-old Jewish woman with a 57-year-old Caucasian Christian talking about marijuana in our straw hats at a New York diner. How can you not laugh?

She continues, “I was asking the higher powers, god, what-have-you, to show me what I’m missing and suddenly it came to me.” Before she had a chance to answer edibles, the name Jesus popped into my head. “I know what came to my mind,” I blurted, “but you aren’t going to like it.” She already figured I was going to say Jesus.

And that took us to the next topic of spirituality and eventually to how much we enjoy each other even though we have differing ideas about faith. Soon we were catching up about our families. When I shared some of the concerns my kids have she suggested that I should tell them about my Jesus. Which was immediately followed by, “But I hope you don’t mind me giving you advice, dear.”

I don’t at all. She’s spot on.

I need friends like her. Friends from diverse backgrounds that hold differing views than mine, who teach me to be curious, to withhold what I think and listen to what they think. Friends with whom I can laugh till tears are running down our faces and with whom I can reveal my soul.

As a former pastor’s wife almost all of my social time was spent with people from our church. When we moved to NYC the fresh start gave me the opportunity to expand. I decided not to look for a social circle or a particular group of friends. But instead to see what God might bring my way. I joined the Jewish Community Center because they offer excellent programs. Occasionally I sign up for instructional classes through any number of city programs. And I enjoy the revolving door of our kid’s friends who find their way to our home.

Friendship? It may be with the people you least expect.