This picture was taken quite some time ago, and to everyone else it means very little, but to me it is the start of a new friendship. This picture was taken under some bunk beds at a high school winter retreat. We had been playing sardines and I had the best hiding spot one could ever imagine. Leslie was the first to find me and as we lay under the bunk bed we laughed and laughed and laughed some more. I have no idea what was actually funny, but the freedom that came out of that night changed our friendship forever.
Leslie is my dear friend and yesterday she got on a jet plane and headed over seas. At this current moment she is an hour away from her final destination. And I thought I would be sadder on this day, but I have had this overwhelming peace about the whole situation. I will no longer get to have the normal friendship experiences. I can't walk over to her house just because I feel like it. We can't stay up late laughing about who knows what. We can't go get coffee. We can't do the normal friendship things, but I've accepted that. Don't get me wrong, I've shed tears, but I have a peace about the situation. And although our friendship will be far from normal for the next three years, she is still my friend whom I love and will always appreciate. My friendship with Leslie has made me a better friend, wife, and person and for that I am forever grateful.
Here are a few things I've learned from Leslie:
I've learned to give people the benefit of the doubt.
I've learned to have fun and laugh.
I've learned to put others first.
I've learned how to not eat popcorn at the movie theater.
I've learned to make others feel special and good about themselves.
I've learned to love females.
I've learned to put Kenny above myself.
I've learned amazing new dance moves.
I've learned how to make Nutella Crepes.
I've learned the inch worm.
What I value most is the freedom I have to make new friendships and form new bonds. I have always had a wall up when it comes to friends. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to make friends, they wouldn't like me or we'd hang out and have nothing to talk about. I was afraid we'd become friends, but our lives would grow apart and I'd be left empty again. Friendship is a sore subject for me and I'm sure a lot of other women too. But for the first time in my life, I'm not afraid of the prospect of making new friends and forging new bonds. I almost relish the opportunity. I will miss my time with Leslie and nothing will replace the openness and understanding we have, but where we left off, I feel open to move forward and keep growing in my ability to love others.
Here's to continued and new friendships!