I think the best way to tell you what I want to say sounds something like this:
When I think of friendship, I’m beginning to see your faces.
I used to see the good sight of another set of faces, but that was at a time when I didn’t know or love myself very well. And so I didn’t know how to really be a true friend to those good, good faces. I didn’t know how to allow myself to truly be befriended.
And this is changing.
Slowly, granted, but changing all the same.
Parts of me wish it could have come sooner, but then this beautiful change wouldn’t be quite the same, would it?
Still beautiful, undoubtedly, because I’m in a relationship with a God who deals out beauty like playing cards on top of green felt in kitchens full of laughter and children’s questions. It’s rich, this kind of beautiful. It’s exactly what my soul has been in need of all this while as I sat slightly apart from the group.
It looks like sitting beside you, not behind you. It sounds like a cap being forced off of a water bottle twisted tight outside the dining hall. It feels like the hard brick against the back of our legs as we sit and talk about the work of the Lord we are learning to love the little things with. It tastes like cotton candy shared after we’ve ridden rides that spun us ’round till we couldn’t help but laugh. It is an hour drive to school together discussing makeup and you putting your hand on my shoulder in the hall as I cried. It is whispered comments about hobbits and rings and other nerdy things in class. It is your arm around my shoulder in a music-filled room as you speak a prayer for me and mine into the sweet air. It is an invitation to a table filled with women who are learning and teaching each other about God and how we are meant to love. And it is some things that it has always been and will always be to me: love and trust and laughing at 2 am with no makeup on and still knowing we are beautiful and seeing pieces of your beauty in my face; sitting together in a chair that is going to break one of these days and we’ll just have to buy a bigger one; phone calls during nap time while your little ones are sleeping sweetly; prayers that whisper of light and of lifting up to God.
This breathtaking thing called friendship is taking shape in my life in big, big ways. God is doing big, big things in my heart right now, and He’s blessing me with such kind, loving people that I am utterly humbled by His grace.
And I’m finding it to be a good place to be. Humbled with the knowing that after who I have been and the places I have gone, He loves me anyway. Humbled with the knowing that He is helping you all to love me too.
Thank you. For your friendship.
For showing me how to be a friend to you. For being patient as I learn how to be a friend to you.
Thank you for your friendship.
Thank you for being the good, good people that you are.
-Jessi Sanders 2012