Today, two of the sweetest, dearest, most beautiful, best friends of mine move to a different continent. They're getting on a plane and flying for what I'm sure feels like an eternity to Jinja, Uganda, where they will live and work as house parents to 24 Ugandan boys at The Amazima School.
I met Laura at a bachelorette party. Not a crazy one, but one where introverts like me thrive-- a quiet restaurant and then a wine and paint night. I just happened to sit next to Laura and one thing led to another and I start telling her about my husband, who goes to the MAC gym downtown, because it's in his office building. It's then that Laura tells me that her husband also goes to the MAC gym because it's in HIS office building. One thing leads to another, and we realize our husbands work together.
We met Ben and Laura at a time where my heart was hurt and my life felt barren. Having friends as an adult is very, very weird and I was asking God to heal the hurt in my heart and allow me to find a friendship where I could flourish.
When you meet someone and something suddenly moves around inside of you and it's like your heart has scooted over to make room for this person because you know that you are kindred spirits in someway, it's a beautiful, rare moment that you need to hold tightly. And that's what happened with Laura.
The second I met Laura, I knew. We were going to be best friends. And if she didn't want it, tough. I was going to force her. When we met again, this time at that mutual friend's wedding, and this time with our husbands in tow, it was destined. We hit off and Brandon and I left knowing that we were going to love these people for a very long time.
When the four of us get together...I'm sorry. We're loud and obnoxious and borderline inappropriate. Ben reminds me so much of Brandon...except taller, blonder and dare I say it...maybe with more energy? He has never met someone who wasn't his best friend. He's kind and gentle and incredibly, incredibly funny. Laura reminds me of myself in so many ways...except she is wiser, gentler, bolder and embodies everything that I want to be so much. She's soft-spoken but her faith and her boldness stops me in my tracks almost every time we talk. She may not speak loudly, but when she speaks, it's blunt and bold and fearless and you listen intently. Together, they are the perfect storm of laughter, authenticity, kindness and a really, really, good time.
I remember the day Laura told me that she might want to move to Africa. And everything on the inside said, "Please don't leave me, cause things are getting good and I am selfish and want you here to do life with me!" but somehow, by the grace of God, what actually came out of my mouth was something like, "Tell me more!" And over the past year, she's told me more and Ben's told me more and I've seen their hearts and I've realized that watching our two best friends flourish is WAY better than selfishly keeping them to ourselves.
Good-byes are hard. And they hurt. But in a time when my heart felt as dry and cracked and beaten as the African desert, my dear, sweet friends have been an overflowing river of love and restoration and authenticity that has helped me flourish when I thought for sure my heart would live in the desert, alone and closed off forever.
So, today is a big day. It's a joy to watch my people go and change the world. They'll do a good job, and when they get back, we'll get together, and just like always, we'll be too loud and make a scene.