Many Happy Returns of the Day...

Happy birthday to my best friend.

A handful of days ago I was sharing with someone how I've loved to watch our friendship twist, grow and develop over the years. 

 

There were the beginning days where I was hesitant and shy and you were chatty and friendly. Craft days and Mary Kay dates. When you stalked me on Facebook and tried to use your hot tub as bribery for me to hang out with you. (a bribe that took over a year to actually happen once we were close friends.) Days where we bonded with other friends and budding common interests.

 

You were the only other weirdo I knew that had been collecting and saving house hold items for your future home since before you were legal. Dishes and blankets and artwork. We were natural nesters and gravitated towards each other.

 

You connected me with a future housemate and friend, who now is practically a member of my family and has been my sister’s best friend for years. (so in a way you are a reason my sister has her best friend as well!)  

As the years went on, we grew together. I came out of my shell and would tell you which clothes to keep and how to create outfits in your closet. We went on road trips and listened to music. We talked about dreams and God and family. Your family became my second family. You and Ethan welcomed me in with arms that weren’t just open, but drawing me in with a magnetic and warm force. And the rest of your family grabbed onto me with just as much of a gusto. 

Your home was my home. There was the time when we lived within walking distance of each other and used that to our full advantage. Late nights talking around your kitchen counter, luncheons, suppers and brunches, embellished with pretty china and flowers plucked from your yard. 

I was the one who loved sad and depressing movies and music, you were the one who wanted the happy endings and upbeat, heartfelt lyrics. I like to think we balanced each other out nicely. 

You have always offered stories and encouragement, longing to figure out the hard things and find God in the storms. 

We have weathered heartbreak.

We have battled loss.

Tears, pain and separation.

 

We have also LAUGHED. And DANCED. (me, usually, because I was forced.) 

We have had victories and wins and joy and beautiful moments.

We have created. Traveled. 

 

There have been times that were hard, and I’m sure we both wondered as to whether our friendship would remain intact. 

 

I think that the magnificent thing is, it didn’t. 

 

Websters defines INTACT as: 

 

not altered, broken, or impaired; remaining uninjured, sound, or whole; untouched; unblemished

 

Not altered? Untouched? No, the years definitely left some bruises and bumps and even questions, LOTS of change and they also allowed for growth, honesty and intimacy. That’s what I was sharing with my friend the other day. True relationships, true friendships weather storms and hurt feelings and friends who leave for Australia or move out of state. (See? We’re both guilty:) 

 

I am so thankful for all of it. We both, I’m sure, would like to have blocked some of the pain and questions that have come at us if possible, but, since I know you, your heart, I know that you truly believe that there is a purpose and reason for everything that has come, all the lessons, the stories. I am so proud of you, I am endeared and heart-tied to you. I have witnessed you as a wife, a woman, new mother, teacher and pastor, daughter, friend and sister. You possess a love for God and hospitality that is rivaled only by your love for storytelling. 

 

No present could ever convey these things- even words seem to be a bit slanted and stingy… but I hope you know how much I love you and how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. 

 

Happy birthday Hannah friend.