Back story: Back in 1983, I began my freshman year at Campbell University. Within the first few days, I met Tammy and later Lisa. They are, in fact, two separate people, but I can’t think of one without the other, even for the purposes of a thank you note.
Truly, I can’t remember ever being as surprised as I was when I walked into my 50th birthday celebration Wednesday night and saw you both standing there. I can’t imagine the scheduling magic you must have pulled off to rearrange life’s demands so you could travel across the state to my party. What a gift! Thank you. Thank you for always being there for me.
Well. Not exactly always. As I recall, you were happy to stay safe and sound in your dorm room the night we watched Fatal Attraction on TV. Neither of you offered to walk me back to my room across campus, despite the very real danger of Glenn Close following me back to my dorm, only to arise bloody in my shower.
But ya know, other than that, you’ve been there.
You were there that freezing cold weekend in 2010 when I was ordained to the ministry. You came, husbands in tow, and celebrated every moment of the weekend with me and mine. Certainly, there was a financial sacrifice that weekend, but even more, I know you sacrificed family time and work responsibilities to be there with me. Thank you for taking the time. It mattered so much.
It mattered in part because you honored my call to ministry. You’ve known me longer than many, so you know–you’ve witnessed–my failings. You know my brokenness, my weakness, and my shortcomings. You know I’m flawed in countless ways. Yet your presence there that weekend, and again this week in the church where I serve, reminded me, “Yes Jesus loves me. I am weak but He is strong. Yes Jesus loves me.” Thank you for being the voice of God to me, reminding me that I am indeed worthy of this call God has placed on my life.
If that were all you two had ever done for me that would be enough for me to be forever in your debt. But there’s so much more. So here’s a list of other things.
- Thanks for driving me around in college when I didn’t have a car. I’m sure I wasn’t appreciative enough. Thanks for doing it anyway.
- Thanks for remembering my children’s birthdays and special days. You are so much better than I at those things.
- Thanks for giving my family a place to stay when we’ve needed it. You both offer such nice bed and breakfast accommodations. (I’ll let you argue over whose breakfast was better.)
- Thanks for hurting when I hurt and for keeping the advice to a minimum while you poured on the grace and love. Thanks so much for that.
- Thanks for keeping the friendship alive for these 30+ years. When one of us has fallen off, the others have picked up the slack. What a blessing.
- Thanks for liking me even though you know how really unlikeable I can be. I like that about you both.
- And of course, thanks for laughing with me. All the laughter. So much laughter. In my memory, our laughter looks like hope.
Of course there is more. There will always be more. But Tammy and Lisa, know that I am grateful for your friendship. I love you both immeasurably.
With heart full of gratitude,