I've been lucky enough to have some really great friends in my life.
In grade school, it was my friend Erin. She was a military kid who lived just a few blocks and few right turns away from our apartment in Colorado Springs. She loved stationary and Scottish Terriers and her mom made these Chocolate Chip Cookies that were round and puffy and tasted like ice cream (I know, weird, right?). We were in Girl Scouts together and had pre-teen disdain for the same people and crushes on boys that were best friends themselves. She hung out with me, even when I flew over my ten-speed bike handle bars and split my lip open, looking hideous and weird (especially when my Father drew a mustache on the bandaid that covered my stitches). And the day we left Colorado Springs to move to Missouri...I cried real "loss" tears, probably for the first time.
Then in Junior High, it was my friend Amy. I was still considered the new kid and she had been separated from her friends when everyone split off to new schools, so we were sort of in the same boat. In 7th Grade, we had every class together and our lockers were right next to each other. She loved clothes (she had the BEST clothes) and cats and her mom always had Little Debbie Snack Cakes around the house. We muddled through Junior High band together and had teenage disdain for the same people and crushes on boys that didn't know we were alive. She hung out with me, even when I wasn't very pleasant to be around and consoled me, when I was grounded (which was pretty much throughout Junior High). I never thought I'd find another friend like her. She was phenomenal. Still is, for that matter. And together, we journeyed to High School.
In High School, we met Melissa and Monica (who happened to be twins) and for four years, we were giggling, note-passing, hair-teasing, boy crazy, inseparable friends. And in college, I met Shane and Lesley and Mindy and Sarah. Shane would give away these hugs that would change your whole outlook on life. And Lesley made me appreciate Texas a little more, with her Texas shaped pasta and Texas shaped heart. Then together, Mindy and I figured out what it meant to turn into adults. And I stood by Sarah as a bridesmaid and watched her marry the man she almost chickened out of dating.
And then in Seminary, I met Melissa. And my husband. But Melissa was my roommate and my confidant and my theologian, long before Brett was my boyfriend. We shared communion on our back porch and on Thursday's we ate brownies and ice cream while glued to ER and Friends. I loved her dad as if he were my own and grew to appreciate coffee because of her influence. We cried when Bush Jr. was elected President of United States and decided to switch rooms at 2:00 in the morning during finals week, one semester. She taught me to play Gin Rummy and how to think, holy.
Since then, friendships have been hard to come by. New ones, anyway. When you work in the church, there's a weird, fine line that you hesitate to cross. Because when you make a choice to jump from that "professional/pastoral" relationship, into friendship, and that person tells you about their failing marriage or their porn addiction or their spiritual crises...it's hard to know which hat you're wearing. Are you listening as their minister? Or as their friend? And many might say, "there shouldn't be a difference...". But there is. There absolutely is.
So, it's nice to find a friend outside of the church...and I've been lucky enough to find a friend in Kristen. In ten years, I think we've been within hugging distance...three times? But when she writes, she speaks to my soul. She struggles and hopes and loves and prays and gives name to all those 'things,' in ways that inspire. She makes a nice, deep black coffee using a french press when you visit her and has the most impeccable taste. She likes frozen custard maybe as much as I do (though the jury's still out in the Andy's vs. Tedd Drewes saga), is a small business advocate (including mine!), and she stirs my creativity when I find myself dry. And she's done all of that, through her blog, third story(ies).
Which... is up for an Apartment Therapy, Homie Award.
So please, affirm friendships everywhere...check out her blog and vote for my homie...otherwise known as, my friend.