Dear Kaila 

I’ve been pondering what I want to say to you as you prepare to {FINALLY} marry Patrick on Saturday. I’ve rolled around different ideas in my head, different stories the internet could read about the two of us (which the internet probably doesn’t need to have on file), and different things I want to say. I feel as though I’m good when it comes to writing my thoughts out, but this time…well, it’s been a struggle. In a good way. Because there’s so much to say and so little time.

I honestly don’t remember the first time we met. I know it was sometime during Astronomy during some year of college (when you’re in college for more than four years, you kind of start to lose count at some point #VictoryLaps). We both knew of each other before then, but it wasn’t until I made some awkward comment about my friends being Patrick’s roommates that we started hanging out.

2013 was a hard one. While it IS the year that you and I became friends, it isn’t a year I want to repeat. I’d say you feel the same way. That year we were both in a place of frustration and confusion, and it seemed like God didn’t know us anymore. It seemed like He’d forgotten about us. But, I have to say, Him dropping you into my life as friend is one of the Ebenezers of my faith journey. It was one of those times where I felt God whisper in my ear, “I see you. I know you. I haven’t forgotten about you.”

We became friends fast, due to plenty of circumstances that, again, the internet does not need to have written down and put on file. But, it was funny to me as I would tell stories at camp that summer after we became friends that it seemed as if we’d been friends forever, not just a few months. It was one of those times where I can truly see the Lord’s hand on our lives and He gave us a safe place in our friendship fairly quickly.

Maybe it’s because He knew how lonely we were. Maybe it’s because He knew how the next couple of years would be insane and crazy and busy. Maybe it’s because He knew we would need someone to walk through the education program with. Maybe it’s because He wanted to give us more than we could ever ask for or imagine.

I don’t know all the reasons of why or when we became friends when we did. I know enough that I’m not going to question God’s sovereignty, because every now and then (at least in my life), I see Him give a good gift, and I don’t want to send it back. You are a good gift, Kaila. To me, as friend. To Patrick, as almost wife (!!!!!!!). To your parents, as daughter. To your siblings, as sister. To your students, as teacher. You are a good gift. Please don’t forget that.

I can count on one hand the amount of friends who have willingly made trips to see me at camp. And it’s you. Ha. But, really. Not many people have people who are willing to drive/ride 7 hours in one day to hang out with you for a couple of hours during the middle of your summer at camp. You did that. It still means a lot.

You’re always up for an adventure, and if I can say anything about our #SurpriseBestFriendTrip it’s that we had a lot of ridiculous adventures. Thanks for willingly, graciously, and happily tagging along on random adventures that I’ve planned. Thanks for inviting me to join in on random adventures and for always being the other girl around so I wasn’t alone.

As we drove home from Atlanta this week, we talked about how we felt sorry for people who don’t laugh often or who don’t have that deep, straight from the gut laugh. It made me thankful that you are one of those people that I laugh like that with. One of the ones where there’s no pressure to be someone who I’m not. And one of the ones who laughs right alongside me as I stand in the subway line in the middle of New York City and CAN’T GET THROUGH. Because I did it wrong.

You’re also the kind of friend that knows how important things are to me. You know that I enjoy being celebrated on my birthday, but that I don’t like cake, so you go out of your way to make me a dessert that isn’t cake. You know how to make celebrations awesome, and even when they don’t go the way you’ve planned (i.e. someone “accidentally” ruining a surprise for me), you still do your best to make sure everyone’s having fun.

That’s another thing you do–you put other people first. When we ran the CRBR and you were clearly faster than I was, you stuck by me for quite a while, insisting on us doing it together. It was only because I insisted a little more than you that you went on ahead, but your willingness to stick it out with me is something I’ll never forget.

You rejoice alongside others in their triumphs and celebrations. You are just as easily excited for me when something good happens as you would be for yourself, for Patrick, for others, etc. You make it known, clearly known, that the people in your life are important to you, and you’ll always be right there next to them, cheering them on.

Let’s be real though. All this supporting people and loving people well is great and all, but the real reason we’re so close is because we know how to shop till we drop. JUST KIDDING. But, in all seriousness, I’m thankful this is something we have in common. Because it makes vacations fun, and it also makes all those FaceTime calls from dressing rooms all the more hilarious. (Patrick, I’m apologizing IN ADVANCE for how much money your wife will spend when I’m in town. We’ll make it up to you one day 🙂 )

You have supported my move to Charlotte 110% and then some. You’ve listened as I’ve cried my eyes out, as I’ve complained and moaned and groaned, and as I’ve pondered (countless times) if I made the right decision by moving. You never once talked me out of it. You never once told me not to go. You prayed alongside me, and once I was there, you hopped in your car and drove to visit.

You’re also always willing to drop everything and meet me when I happen to be in Augusta for a funeral, a soccer game, or even for Christmas break. You put your life on hold and meet me where I’m at (literally and figuratively). You make me a priority. You make others  a priority, too. That matters, Kaila. A whole lot.

You also know how to push me out of my comfort zone. You know what I like and don’t like, but you know how to give me that boost of confidence that says, “Go get ’em.” I know that whenever I’m with you, you’ve got my back.

You say “yes” a whole lot more than I do, and I admire that a ton. When I said, “Let’s go on a surprise trip,” you said, “Tell me what to pack.” You were all-in, one-hundred percent, the whole time. Even when I was ready to be done, you made sure we had the trip of a lifetime.

You’re the best friend a girl could ever have. I’m thankful that God used lots of different circumstances, unknown to us at the time, to bring us together as friends. I wouldn’t be who I am without you in my life. I’m excited to see how the Lord shapes, refines, and molds you into a woman who is more and more like Him through marriage. Happy wedding weekend, Kaila (and Patrick)! Love you long time.

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