This is an easy one to time, because I am currently folded into a big comfy chair at Kari's parents' house in Southern Illinois. Fourth of July weekend vaca!! We drove through long fields of corn into straight mid-Western horizon and it was lovely. After dinner we went for a walk through more cornfields (my favorite... for real... are there cornfields in Oregon?) and talked about various things on our hearts and our families and what the heck to do with our early 20s, that sort of thing, and then laid on the ground and stared at distant fireworks. And now I'm in PJs eating chocolate cake and we're about to watch a chick flick.
Kari and I have been close friends since she was a freshman and I was a sophomore on the same floor in Fischer dorm four years ago. And we have progressed from Saga date friends to long-walks-and-talks friends to going-home-for-the-weekend-friends to soul friends.
And I was so, so grateful to have her in Wheaton this year.
I am grateful for Kari's incredible giftedness as a friend. She is a Friend. Look-up-friend-in-the-dictionary-and-there's-her-picture type of friend. A drop-everything-to-help-with-anything, bring-over-chocolate-and-a-Jane-Austen-movie-when-you're-sad, let's-cook-lunch-together-after-church, notes-of-encouragement-for-no-reason, friend. I love her loyalty and thoughtfulness. I benefit from it so much. And I learn from it so much.
And besides the fact that she is that type of friend, I am grateful, specifically, for all of those things.
I'm grateful for all the ways we do life together- run errands, stop in to say hi, freak out with or tell a funny story to.
I'm grateful for how she has let me into her struggles. I have gotten to walk with her through hard things, because she is willing to let me in to painful places. I have been so privileged to do that. To learn with her and pray for her and see who God is to her in hard and scary times.
I'm grateful for the ways that enables me to be more honest with my own hard and scary times.
I'm grateful for how not scared off she was of me after HNGR.
I'm grateful for how she is constantly seeking God and exploring ways to connect with Him.
I'm grateful for her dedication to the c-church and the C-Church.
I'm so grateful for her gifts and the ways she is exploring them. I'm grateful for her desire to know people deeply and love them the way God loves them. I'm grateful for her love for other cultures and her refusal to settle for status quo. I'm grateful for how she wants to rest, play, and notice, and what she's taught me about why those are important.
I'm grateful for her family and how she's brought me into them- her kind and gracious parents welcome all their kids' friends with open arms. (And her older brother is one of my best friends too- Hi Nate!).
I'm thankful she gives awesome back rubs. Seriously. She's studying to be a massage therapist. It's great.
I'm grateful for every note she has written me, reminding me of my importance to her and to God. I'm grateful for how amazing she is at seeing people's gifts and wanting to celebrate them wholeheartedly.
I'm grateful that this year just a mile away... I had a friend who knows me that well and who I know so well, a friend with such a history, a friend who is family.
Thanking God for giving me Kari this year.