Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sappy Saturday

When my friend Julia moved away in May of last year, I really didn't know what I was going to do. I am a bit of a friend junkie and she was my first "grown-up" best friend. We had hooked up through our kids and I just wasn't sure how to find a new best friend with all of my kids in school and me not being the typical soccer mom type. I will say that I spent a fair amount of time praying about a new best friend. And true to "not what I expected" form, God hooked me up.

Photo by Amberlee Christey 
(used with permission)
I've posted here a few times that I was sure that any best friend I would ever have would be a woman. Like, completely, totally sure of this.

So of course my best friend now? A guy.

Honestly (and this probably loses me points in the bff scale), I can't remember when I first met Rich. I'm sure it was some music thing at church. I had seen/heard him play long before we ever met and when I was cleaning out a drawer about a year ago, I ran across one of his business cards that my brother in law had given me when I was thinking about learning to play the guitar (before I gave THAT idea up for good). But the first time we actually shook hands and exchanged names? No idea.

But we did meet. And I am so incredibly happy about that.

Most of my friendship with Rich has been forged in car rides to and from gigs with Under Shelter. I’m not sure why he opted to ride with me rather than someone he knew better to the first gig I played with the band, but he did and since then, we’ve always traveled together. Which means that,  while we’ve not been friends for a super long time, we’ve had many opportunities to get to know one another rather well. (That we’re both talkers certainly doesn’t hurt things!)

In talking with him over many hours, it was pretty clear that he was someone I wanted as a friend.

I knew I wanted to be friends with Rich because of how he talks about his wife. They’re best friends. They genuinely like each other. And I can’t think of a conversation that we’ve had that he hasn’t shared with me just how awesome he thinks she is. When traversing the unknown terrain of an opposite-sex friendship, knowing without a doubt that each is thoroughly in love with their spouse takes a load off.

I knew I wanted to be friends with Rich because of how funny he is. Not everyone makes me laugh, so when I meet people who do, I definitely gravitate toward them. Rich and I share a very similar sense of humor, so there was a certain inevitability about our friendship.

I knew I wanted to be friends with Rich because he is an amazing encourager. When I was stressed out of my mind about playing with Under Shelter for the first time, he talked me down. When I have expressed fears about playing or writing or some other creative expression, he has built me up. Not everyone puts up with that level of neurosis, so when you find that ability in someone, it’s pretty special.

I knew I wanted to be friends with Rich because he takes time to listen and respond thoughtfully. Most of our car conversations are about goofy stuff, but sometimes they’re not. He was one of the first people to ask me why I write about controversial issues and to actually take the time to listen to my reasons. When I share concerns with him, he doesn’t give flip or pat answers. He’ll offer advice when he has it to give and when he doesn’t, he’s just a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on.

There were lots of reasons to be friends. He’s my best friend because he’s ALL of those things. 

My favorite last line of any book is the end of Charlotte’s Web.
"It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."
Wilber recognized that these things alone are rare and beautiful and that he was lucky enough to have found both in Charlotte. With Rich, I’ve been lucky enough to find a friend who is devoted, funny, encouraging and thoughtful. Alone each of those are fantastic traits, but put together, well, that’s someone worth investing in.

Happy birthday, bestie. I know it’s your special day, but your friendship has been a gift to me.

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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
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