Friday, July 8, 2011

A gift in this year: Meredith.


"We cannot tell the precise moment a friendship is formed.
As in filling a vessel drop by drop there is at last one which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over."
-James Boswell

Girlfriends are basically my favorite thing. And I have a lot of them. I have a lot of awesome ones.
But there have only been a very few of this particular type. Where someone is completely not in my life one week... and then somehow we end up sitting down and having a real conversation. And maybe it takes one more coffee date.. but by the next week, I just know they are going to be in my life, in a deep way, for a long, long time.
And there are all of a sudden text messages, and secrets, and needing-to-tell-each-other-things, and if I stop to actually count length-of-time-of-friendship it's bizarre to me how short it is. Because they are in my heart in a way where it just feels silly and completely ridiculous to even imagine what it would be like without them.

That happened with Mere this year. And it has been such a gift.

This is just some boy she found lying around in the park...

A little bit of the context for our friendship... most of the fall, though I was soaking in beautiful friendships and community in many ways, I was Very Very Dedicated to not having "a person". It's a long story (and will be another post soon). But I basically was very sure that I had heard from God that I needed to be in a season of more intentional solitude- not just in terms of physical space but emotional, too. And the way the fall unrolled, this was not particularly difficult to achieve.

But around Christmas, I started, well, pretty much yearning for some closer, more daily friendships.
("But I'm supposed to be lonely right now!! I'm supposed to only have Jesus be my Best Friend!!!!")
Around the same time, I was assigned to a Rez prayer group- the same one as Meredith. We had mutual friends so I knew she was great. But I decided I didn't have time to do it since I was already meeting with two small groups. It was a good decision, but Steve moaned when he heard she'd been assigned to mine.
"But you have to be friends with MEREDITH MALONY!!!! That would have been PERFECT!!!! Do you KNOW her?? She's AMAZING!!!! And you guys would have been SO WONDERFUL for each other!!!"
But... I couldn't do the group! But bummer, because she did seem cool.

Long story (notthat)short, when I was in Maryland over Christmas break I had some helpful and insightful conversations with wise friends. They spoke into my life in a lot of ways, including the areas of community, and solitude, and the decision I'd made to intentionally not pursue closer friendships for a few months. And they encouraged me that maybe I had learned what God had wanted to teach me in that season, and it was okay if I felt ready to move out of it.

And that happened to coincide with when Mere happened. We ran into each other at the Rez volunteer breakfast, and sat down with our paper plates to chat. We looked up an hour later and everyone else had left- we were sitting on the only two folding chairs still out in the middle of the almost-completely-empty auditorium.

She put it recently as "God answering prayers we didn't know we were praying". I'd agree with that statement.

I am so grateful for the gifts of this girl and this friendship.

I'm grateful for how it happened... the existence of our friendship and its formation taught me much about His character this year. My friendship with Meredith, and its timing, is a sign to me of God's intentionality, of His knowledge of what we need, of His "delighting in doing good" to us. Those were lessons I needed- need- to learn. (And really, could you think of a lovelier way for Him to show them to me?!). I'm grateful for what I've learned through this friendship about the role of community and doing life together in faith.

I am so grateful for the depth of our friendship.
I'm grateful for a kindred spirit. I'm grateful for our conversations about desiring to be settled, about "hanging up curtains" where we live, about Rez, and relationships, and how (...and where, and with whom) to live after college.
I love our long walks through Wheaton and Glen Ellyn, meandering through the neighborhoods with our arms linked, pointing out the cute houses we like, rejoicing at coming signs of spring and now delighting in summer sunshine and green.

 I love that we lay on the grass by the playgrounds and at the lake behind Rez spilling our hearts. (...Or talking about what foods we craved when we studied abroad. Which is also important.)
I'm grateful for cuddling under a blanket on her couch, staying up late talking.
I'm grateful she came over to help me pack and brought packing tape and plastic bags and was absolutely firm in making me get rid of stuff I needed to get rid of.
I'm grateful she'll call me when she has extra soup in her fridge she wants help finishing off.

I'm grateful that when I sent out on email jokingly asking for chocolate, she immediately arranged to take me on a date to a chocolate freakin' restaurant.
Sheee's just adorable. Ooh- and look at our chocolate-covered strawberries!!

I love hearing her heart. I am so grateful and privileged by her intentionality in sharing it with me. I'm so appreciative of how she receives mine.
I love the role we play for each other, I think, in being consistent prayer-and-processing friends.
I am so grateful for a friendship in which we can talk for hours and still have plenty to say.
I'm grateful that it is perfectly normal for a date to include both laughter and tears- and usually plenty of random tangents, even in the midst of something intense.

This was taken tonight! What is a movie-and-pizza-night without a Photobooth session?

I'm so grateful for who this beautiful girl is.
I'm grateful for her silliness. (Friends who make funny faces and weird noises are my favorite.)
I'm grateful for her empathy.
And her great kindness.
I'm grateful for her deep desire and striving for honesty with herself and others.
 I'm grateful for her deeply committed faith.
I'm grateful for her loyal heart.
I'm grateful for her intentional vulnerability.
I'm grateful for what I learn from her maturity, wisdom, and nuance.
I love how she loves her family and the way she talks about her mom.
I love her sense of humor.
I love her up-for-adventures! spirit.
I'm grateful for and learn soooo much from her attention to and faithfulness in small things.

I just love her so much.

Look- it's that same guy from the park! We found him in her apartment, too! What a coincidence!

"You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."
-Charlotte, Charlotte's Web
E. B. White
(for some reason that quote just made me think of her as soon as I read it. Charlotte is a wise spider.)

Thanking God for giving me Mere this year.



merey kay said...

OH MY GOSH. i miss you now, right now! don't go! okay, go, but like, call sometimes? or text me? and let's hang out a lot before you actually go. because like, well, i think these are the nicest things anyone's ever said about me and well, that's just, not something you get everyday. thanks, em. i'm thankful for you.

merey kay said...

I still read this sometimes when I need a lift. Thank you, Emily, for your friendship, and also for doing so outspoken as writing about it for the whole world, and me, to see.

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.