“I am going to write love letters to my friends & family members & who knows, maybe chocolate chip cookies, just because I think they are all each really wonderful and worthy of love letters sent to them every minute, every hour. I won’t use their names because some aspect of this tryst should be private, but even if you – the reader – don’t know who I am specifically writing about, I want you to still know that these incredible people exist.”
This one is going to be a giveaway. Not only because I mention that today is your birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY YO) but also because the compliments I am about to bestow upon you, much to your chagrin, aren’t only my opinion. Everyone who knows you and reads this will think “Huh, this must be about –“.
Ready to turn bright red?
I really, really really, can’t adequately explain to you the impact your friendship has had on me. And I don’t mean that flippantly – don’t read that in the same tone as you’d read a card someone halfheartedly wrote with “I love you more than you know!” scribbled at the end of it. You have been one of my most precious friends.
What you have been to me is really beautiful for a million and two reasons, but I think the loveliest perhaps is that the relationship happened on accident. Actually, it kind of appeared out of thin air. Because how long did I know you before I knew you? How many parties did we both attend without speaking to one another? How long did we not understand each others humor? A while dude. And then God did some arranging. You needed a place to live, I needed a place to live, another beautiful friend of ours needed a place to live. How convenient that a mutual precious friend of ours had a home to invite all of us into. Those first couple weeks were spent tip toeing. And now I’m pleased that our time together is spent hugging.
I am blessed to have been your roommate. Not because you’re wonderful and funny and beautiful, even though that’s all true. I’m blessed because getting to be so up close and personal with someone so wildly in love with the Lord is rare. It’s rare and it’s not something to take for granted. You have ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NO IDEA how incredibly beautifully Christ shines through you. You love so well. You love so many so well.
We’ve laughed many times about how insanely different you and I are. I get hot, you freeze. I cry over everything that moves me even in the slightest, you reserve your tears for important matters. I text you in ALL CAPS WHEN I AM EXCITED OR MAD OR ANYTHING and you respond very soberly. I get quiet, you get personal. We both love all things frugal / cheap / thrifty / free, the Lord, and handwritten letters.. but that may be it. But I’m okay with that, because your level headedness has been one of the qualities I’ve loved the most about you. We shared a room in one of the hardest years of my life. In that room I wept when God wanted to yank me away from everyone and everything I knew and loved. You sat on your bed and watched me cry as I packed up my things and you told me how good God is.
People often mistake real love and real friendship for a support system. Which sure, yeah, okay, is part of it. But it’s common to hear phrases like, “if you really cared about me / if you really loved me you’d support me in this”. As if love meant just having someones back no matter what. But it doesn’t. At all. In any kind of relationship dynamic real love cares about the thriving of the other. And that means sometimes disagreeing. That can mean correcting, encouraging, calling the other out on nonsense. You’ve done this for me. When I sat on my bed heavy with frustrations or fears you didn’t just “back me up”. You really considered the things that I said and then you responded with wisdom. And scripture. And earnestness. Which I needed because I err on the side of the dramatics. Once, you called me to kindly tell me something that would have hurt my feelings had I heard it through the grape vine. It wasn’t news that I was necessarily excited about and where other friends would have been tempted to be “on my side” and remark how lame it was, you told me the tid-bit then calmly said “Okay, now here’s why I think it’s a good thing..”
I love you so much for that. For your levelheadedness. For your wisdom. You’ve been so diligent in reaching out to me since I moved. No one has called me as much as you have. Few have sent me sweet mail like you have. I think you understand how fragile I was once I moved (and still am sometimes). I didn’t feel like I was in another state – I felt like I was in another country and that it was of little consequence to most. But you reached out your sweet hand to show me that even if I wasn’t in your room, I was still in your life. You skyped with me while I was getting ready for my first date up here in Memphis. EVERYONE! LISTEN TO HOW SWEET THIS IS. I had no one to get ready with and giggle with and steal clothes from (which is obviously the most fun part of a first date) so you skyped with me and helped me pick out shoes all the way from Tampa. It’s things like that. It’s that you wanted to share in my excitement. You cared about me enough to want to share my excitement in a small way. Those small ways add up to such huge, gigantic things.
You are incredible. You are a forced to be reckoned with in the most beautiful of ways.
Happy birthday, sweets. I love you dearly.