Good Friends…It’s the Little Things

I love spending time with friends.  But most of my friends will know that I’m pretty horrible at keeping in touch, period.  Especially over the phone.  It’s not that I don’t value my friends that are far from me, it’s just that I am a super tangible person.  I need to see a person…be in the same room with a person.  I don’t skype or facetime much.  Maybe that’s the solution…that, and being intentional…also something I’m not great at.

So anyway, this past weekend was spent in Tallahassee visiting a dear friend of mine.  Her name is Amanda and she’s awesome!  She and I were best friends in high school and we stayed in touch throughout the first two years in college.  And then I moved out of state and things got tricky.  My tendency not to communicate across long distances just got worse.  The last time I saw Amanda before this week was when we were 19.  We got to have some time together at her grandma’s pool during the summer before I moved to Kentucky to finish up my degree.  She and I spoke once my Senior year, but that was about it.  Looking back, of course I feel terrible that I didn’t do a better job keeping in touch, but an incredible thing happened this weekend.  We started in the same place where we left off.

I was a little worried about my visit to Tally.  It was a weekend to celebrate her engagement to Louis.  It was a weekend where I was supposed to meet him and his family and most of the bridal party.  You see, as soon as she was engaged, she started putting her bridal party together.  She called me and asked me to be a bridesmaid before she made it Facebook official…I felt so honored.  This weekend was a celebration! A time to meet and greet and come together to make Amanda and Louie feel loved and cherished.

But see, remember how I’m awkward? Well I am.  Big time.  I was so worried that this weekend would be awkward as well…what with me not having seen her in so long, and because I was worried about being outgoing enough to make a good impression.  But then I remembered something.  This was Amanda we were talking about.  I wish everyone could know her…she is just about the sweetest person I know.  And besides that, she is real and authentic and always has been.  I’ve always had my insecurities, but Amanda makes that all go away.  She doesn’t care about superficial stuff like how a person looks, or what they wear.  She looks at the heart.  She taught me about that a long time ago when we were still in high school.  I was looking at photos of her an her loved ones while in her room, and I was commenting about the bathing suits, or the clothing and how pretty they were.  She joined me at the photos and instead of commenting on what people were wearing, she commented on the person in the photo with her, and how much they meant to her.  She didn’t care about the clothing.  She cared about the person.  Then there’s me.  I’ve always been heavier than her…not hard to do, really.  And I get tempted to be self-conscious about it, but then I stop.  Because Amanda has never cared how I looked.  She’s always loved and accepted me for me.

So with that truth encouraging me, I made the 5 hour trip to Tallahassee from Atlanta.  And never once did I freak over the clothes I brought, or the people I would meet.  If Amanda liked me, it didn’t really matter if anyone else did.  They had to deal.  This thought process freed me from my usual anxiety that I tend to go through when facing potentially stressful situations.  And it freed me to be completely myself…no masks this weekend.

When I met Louie and his family, when I saw Amanda and her family again, we had the best time.  I was ghetto and loud, which let’s face it, is me, and they loved it.  I didn’t have to hide…didn’t have to be anyone that I was not.  It was a great weekend!

More than that, I got to see inside Amanda’s life for a few days.  And what I found was that she’s all grown up–and she grew  up beautifully! And Louie is an amazing guy! They laugh together, they stress together, but they’re real together.  And most importantly, they make dreams together.  Their relationship taught me a lot about love and what it’s supposed to look like.

Just one final thought, and it’s a completely different thought, but worth stating none-the-less.  Most of the friends I met this weekend are not religious in the strictest sense.  But, to steal a quote from my roomie Meagan, they showed me the love of God more than most of my Christian friends ever have.  There was no judgement.  There was only acceptance and love shown.  Christians are some of the most judgmental people I know! And if I’ve ever been that person in your life, where you felt judged by me instead of loved, then I am really sorry!

And I’ll end with this final random thought, as that seems to be the theme of this post: People say you can tell a lot about a person by who they choose to be friends with.  Well, I don’t know how much my friendship says for Amanda, because I’m just crazy and all over the place.  But she says a lot about me.  I must be a pretty cool person if you judge me by her and all the new friends I made this weekend!

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