Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A gift in this year: Elise.

I just really love this girl a lot.

And I am so grateful for her friendship the last five years (yeah for friends from the first semester of freshman year!!).

I'm so grateful for her compassion. There are a million obvious and really important examples of her compassion- her work with immigrants. Her relationships with her women in India. How incredible she is with kids (seriously, babies like, flock to her).

 Buuut, the second I started writing that sentence I just pictured her compassion to me (sorry, I'm selfish like that). I'm grateful for her gentleness and sensitivity and patience. Which she has shown me always, but I've especially appreciated it at times when I've needed to vent or been freaked or broken. Or just late and stressed out.

I'm grateful for the amazing external processing conversations we had about everything. (Seriously. Like everything.)

I'm grateful for her sweet voice. It's just really soft and cute, and I miss it.

Random, but- I'm grateful we have so many mutual friends!! Seriously- that is actually kind of weird for me. I am much more of a one-on-one person so I tend to have lots of best friends more than a clique... so usually, my friends don't all know each other. But Elise and I are just connected to tons of the same people, even through totally different contexts. She went to church with Amy and was in Ryan and Kendra's small group. She knows the Tuesday boys because they were on her brother floor. She was in Christine and Jana's Wheaton Passage group freshman year. Obviously, we share Sarah. (<3). She knows a lot of Rez people through World Relief. It's just fun... the people I love loving each other is MY FAVORITE... and plus it means she gets the context for lots of my stories :-P.

I love that she had her own friendship with my roommates, and that we all got to interact and see different sides of each other. I loved nights she was over for them and I got to see her :-).

I LOVE how much she loves her brand-new nephew. Omigoodness it is adorable. This. Girl. Loves. Her. Nephew. I have seen many a cute uploaded family video :-)

And  love how she is as a rising adult in her family, and the thought she gives to it.

I'm amazed by her work ethic.
I love how she pushes herself, tries new things, does things she loves which bring her joy- cooking, pursuing her extended family, exercising, reading Twilight. For real.
I'm grateful for her work with immigrants. I'm so grateful for her deep love and respect for them. For their sake, and for the living example she is for me of the importance of welcoming the stranger and caring for the least of these. I'm grateful and in awe of the ways she has truly changed and impacted their lives.

I'm so grateful that when I was encouraging my families to seek out legal help or assistance, I could say, "And don't be afraid to call World Relief, the people are so nice- actually, if you call, you might get to talk to one of my best friends!!".

And I'm grateful that during work I could call her and have a mom get on the phone and ask her a question. So kind.

I'm grateful for the ways she has thought hard about hard things. I'm grateful for her opinions and that she is not afraid to have them. She is gentle and respectful, but she has taught me much about standing up for what you believe in and not apologizing for believing it. She is an example to me.

I'm grateful for her gift of perception. Elise gets people. She is exceptionally insightful- and she mixes that discernment with compassion. Her words of encouragement and challenge are virtually always true, meaningful, and convicting- and often reveal things to me which I had never seen before.

I'm so grateful for how she pursued me this year. She was so intentional with me and our friendship. It made me feel so special and I am so thankful for the time we got to spend together.
And I love her creativity in planning things. Even if sometimes they fell through (we never did go to an amusement park, did we... bummer!).

I'm grateful for the comfortability and affirmation that comes from such a long friendship, which has seen each of us through many different phases and loved each other through all of them.

I'm grateful for her deep intelligence which she never uses to put others down.
(And I'm so proud of her for how she's using it in her new adventure now).

I'm grateful for her sense of humor which is kind but sharp and witty and astute and wonderful.

I'm grateful for her uniqueness. Elise is Elise. She is strong, thoughtful, passionate,  gentle, creative, curious, capable, engaged, and loyal.

I'm really, really, really grateful for the way we were able to process HNGR together. Elise went to India the year before I went to Bolivia. Our experiences were different but there were some definite similarities... and definite similarities in things we have been working through since. She has been SUCH a gift for me in this. Such, such, such a gift. There are things I have been able to work through and name and process and be healthier in, specifically because I had her to talk to and listen to.
And there are things which have no solution, but in which it was just... such a gift to have someone who "gets" it.
I'm grateful for how much it felt like we spoke a language together, that I needed someone else to speak.

I am so grateful and humbled by how she took such good care of me this year. That is what I think, when I think about Elise and our times together this year: "Wow, she took good care of me."
Seriously. I would go over to her apartment and she would cook me something creative and delicious from her Cooking Light subscription. As she chopped and stirred and I pretended to help, she would ask me helpful and encouraging questions about my job and give wise and thought-out insights from her own work with immigrants. And then we would snuggle on her big comfortable couch and watch an episode of something brilliant, witty, and profound. Like the Pride & Prejudice miniseries or Gilmore Girls.
And often it was deep and sometimes it was happy together vegging. I am so grateful for those memories... and I'm grateful for how she really did take care of me. Being with Elise was a very safe, accepted, refreshing space for me this year. And I'm so grateful for that.

I'm grateful for the long walk around a lake we went on right before she moved.

I'm grateful she moved to DC, where I'm for sure going to see her.

I'm grateful she moved, because it makes leaving Wheaton easier for me.

Oh I love her.

She had just gotten back from HNGR. We were about to go...

Thanking God for giving me Elise this year.


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Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.