I am grateful (for friends).

I grew up always having a lot of friends. In high school I would throw parties about once a month and have 50-60 of my closest pals dancing (and at times, scootering) around my house all weekend. So much fun! And I’m so thankful for my parents who let us get a little crazy sometimes. And I’m so thankful for the 50-60 teenagers that wanted to play games and eat brownies and dance and sleep on the trampoline without being drunk or high.

Human pyramid at a good ol’ fashioned RTP (raunchy teen party) my senior year of high school

When I went away to college I realized I didn’t actually know how to make friends. I also realized (too late) that I was so self-involved that probably nobody really wanted to be my friend. As it stands, I still routinely talk to a grand total of ONE of my friends from college that I actually met at school. It’s cool though, because she’s really great. It’s also cool because I have MORE THAN ONE friend that I made while working in Springfield that I still talk to.

Katelyn and I at the Cincinnati zoo our freshmen year of college

Now friends kind of come built it. All of us single American gals are friends because we are the only single American Christian gals in the city (that we know of). And I like my friends here. They are really, really great. Making Dominican friends is a little trickier and certainly requires more effort on my part (I’m bad at effort) but the beginnings of those friendships were handed to me in the form of my coworkers, fellow church members, and girls in my Bible study. And I like those friends, too. It’s humbling to have really great women of God who want to spend time with me and build into my life even though I’m kinda of bad at speaking their language and style-wise I’m a mess.

Merry missionaries

In high school I was always ready for new friends and I still love meeting new people, I really do, but I find myself suspicious and keeping myself at a distance. I used to let everything loose when I first met someone. I used to talk about myself a lot (more). But along the way I realized that it’s more believable if you let people see how much you care about children and the gospel and movies rather than stating out right, “I really care about children. It’s because I’m so selfless,” or “I know a lot about movies. It’s no big deal.” I’m starting to learn what real relationships look like – deep and slow and long-term – and I like them.

J’aimee (friend since elementary school), me, Ryan, and Kayla at a Tigers game years ago. Ryan and Kayla are still together and one of my favorite couples. I remember in eleventh grade when Ryan told me he thought Kayla had a crush on him. (He had spied his name written in her notebook.)

I have a few of these relationships, I do. Some of them are 23 years old and some just began last month. Sometimes I feel like I pin way too much on my summer in Brooklyn, but looking back that time taught me so much. At the end of the summer (after spending 80+ days, day in and day out, working and living with the same three people) I was freaking out about those friendships ending. Because I assumed that’s what would happen. That those friendships wouldn’t be as convenient anymore and so they would be too much work and so they would end. Because I think that’s what had always happened in the past.

Brooklyn gang at Coney Island

I’m learning so much about relationships and commitment and what love really is that I’m finding it hard to put into words. It’s all still moving around my brain. Plus these Taylor Swift jams are a little distracting but too fun to turn off.

What I’m trying to say is, the relationships I have now are the result of effort, usually not my effort, but effort. And for that I am grateful.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. – AA Milne

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