Take my friend Stephanie, for example.
In all seriousness, Steph is one of the most extraordinary people you will ever meet. She's got one of those larger-than-life personalities that just brims with enthusiasm for life and love for people. I swear the woman has more passion in her little toe than I have in my body. What's best about her though, in my opinion, is her ability to hone in on whatever is good and beautiful in a person. And it could be any kind of person. Present her with a long-haired unwashed heathen druggie and she will find a way to love them, to honestly think they are awesome. It's really quite uncanny. Lucky for me, I ended up making her acquaintance about 3.5 years ago, and she went right to work at finding something loveable in me. I've been blessed by her love and example ever since.
Take my friend, Kathryn (aka Paul).
My little Paul is currently serving a mission in Spokane, WA. I miss her and her zany ways. I could not have possibly had a better freshman roommate than this one. Tell me, what freshman girl would sit in my room with me every night, interspersing bouts of personal homework study with thought-provoking discussions on interreligious understanding and neo-feminism? On multiple occasions? What are the chances I would have gotten a roommate who shared my same appreciation for tragic foreign films and straight-up honey butter? What I love best about Paul is that she brings out the maybe not-so-inner nerd in me, and that our conversations are never dull. She has a way of consistently elevating casual drivel to deep discussions of the soul, no matter the time or place. Zany, deep, a kindred spirit in things both meaningful and mundane; I just love that Paul.
Take my friend, Jody (Jojo).
This girl is so brilliant it's not even funny, not even at all. Reading her blog posts is like staring into truth, custom-made for my comprehension! What I love best about her, besides the fact that she listens to new age music, is a budgeting and meal-planning diva, and doesn't seem to care a whit what people think of her, is the way she understands and helps others understand the gospel. What I initially admired about her was the way she probed into deeper layers of doctrine, you know, the stuff that usually falls through the cracks in sunday school. What I admire most about her now is the way she manages to do all that, and still tie it all back in the end to the simple truths of the gospel. Collette is my personal guru, and I love it.
Look at this face and tell me you wouldn't look forward to work every day, too. Jojo is one of the sunniest people I have ever met. She finds pretty much everything delightful, and I find that delightful. My favorite thing about Jojo, though, is her extreme thoughtfulness. For instance, just a few minutes ago she bought me a bag of cheetos from the vending machine, for no reason at all! She is always sewing pillows and tutus for the neighborhood children, and just generally spreading good cheer wherever she goes. Also she is the most maternal person I have ever seen, rivaling, yes, even my own mother. In short, she's just the coolest. My life is definitely brighter for her place in it.
As shown here, Audge and myself share a certain undeniable kinship. The first time I ever really got to know her, I remember feeling distinctly that I was talking to a (hotter, more athletic) version of myself. This was confirmed later when I heard her say one night that all she wanted to do was "eat the night away." I knew then that I had stumbled onto something good. To this day, she is one of my very favorite people. Awesomely chill, non-judgmental, hilarious, gorgeous, has a way of making people feel instantly at ease around her. I frankly wish I was her. But until that transformation happens, I love being her friend.
Whatever other status he has been, there's no getting around what an exceptional friend JJ has been to me, in the truest sense of the word. To be with someone who truly knows every ugly and vile thing about you, and to love you anyway - is this not the raddest dynamic two people can aspire to? I believe some souls come into this world a little purer in spirit than the rest of us, and JJ is one of those good souls. He sees people not only for who they are, but also for who they can become. I only hope that I can yet learn to see and love my fellow man the way he does.
Twinner to my heart, lover to my soul, potential life partner if men don't work out for me. I've always known that I was lucky to have her, but the more I live, the more I realize just how rare our situation is, and how very very blessed I am. Friendship with Carol is as easy as breathing. She gets me. She, as well, knows every vile thing about me, yet still thinks I'm awesome. No one can make me laugh like her. She surprises me everyday with tidbits of wisdom far beyond both our years. Amid all the changes, the uprootings and surprises and goods and bads, she is constant. It is a rare thing to have a friend like this, I am finding, and I don't know how I managed to be one of the privileged few. But when you find a friend like this - one whose presence is comforting to you even if all you do is walk together in silence (literally AND metaphorically!) - well, eventually you stop asking questions. Instead you start pouring out thanks, you begin striving to be worthy of your associates. I am still working on that one.
"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. "
Aren't my friends the greatest?