Today is the birthday of one of my dearest friends. She lives far from me, and we haven't seen each other in several years, but she is still one of the most special people in my life.
When I think back over the 23 years we have been friends, I see some really good reasons why we are (still) friends:
1. We share history. That little saying that says "New friends are silver, but old friends are gold," is absolutely accurate. I can look to her and know that she "remembers when," knows my family, understands the circumstances surrounding my growing up. She's seen me be selfish and ugly, frightened, anxious, and sad. She's seen me wrestle with my sins, and (hopefully!) grow. She has held me up when I needed support, and she's done so without ever asking for anything in response.
2. She is faithful. She wouldn't let me go. I am a lousy communicator and a lousy initiator. She never let my failures stand in the way of our friendship. She called me, wrote me, even sent me packages. She is the reason our friendship has remained. I hate that it is true, but my weakness would have let such a valuable relationship slip away. She was strong in place of my weakness. For her faithfulness, I could not be more grateful.
3. She is beautiful. Though she is beautiful physically, I am most grateful for her beautiful spirit. She brings beauty, joy, and grace to those around her. She offers of herself in so many ways. Here is an example of her thoughtfulness. When I lived overseas, so far from home at Christmas, I received from her and her mother a GIGANTIC box filled with all things Christmas, including a small tree with ornaments, candy canes, and even pictures drawn by the children in her daycare. Ooooiiieeee, I cried! It was wonderful! My students in Korea were stunned and my co-workers jealous, but I was just so thankful to have her for a friend.
There are so many more reasons why I am glad to have her as my friend, but today, especially, I just want to say,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RACHEL! You live a life worth living. And I love you.