when good friends are hard to come by.

friends-1“When we do the hard, intimate work of friendship, we bring a little more of the divine into daily life.”- Shauna Niequist

***

You were one of the very first friends I made in Sacramento outside of college. My first impressions of you were two-fold: 1) your laugh was infectious, and 2) you had a haircut I could never pull off. I was fresh out of college and clueless about most things; you were working your way up the ladder at a hip marketing agency in midtown.

We were destined to be friends, you and I.

From the very beginning, you were generous with advice and encouragement---doling out introductions and career guidance like it was nothing, but really, it was kind of everything.

You were the one who suggested I join Twitter. (Also: we've been friends since BEFORE I HAD TWITTER?!)

You were also the one who suggested I start a blog. You probably don't even remember that, but I do.

Words of encouragement come naturally to you, like breathing or blinking for the rest of us. When I found out I needed a c-section, you had already e-mailed me a list of nine "c-section pros" by the time Brett and I were halfway home from the hospital. I sat in the car on the freeway reading your little list, smiling through the tears streaming down my face. When I went to Liberia last August, you gave me a card to tuck safely in my suitcase in case of a homesick emergency, which happened on day eight. I have kept every card you have ever given me because they are full of endless encouragement and I can't even bear the thought of throwing them out (which is saying a lot because you know how much I love to throw things out.)

You're the one who introduced me to Shauna Niequist, and thank goodness you did because Shauna has made me a better writer and I love stalking her with you like a couple of fangirls. I loved co-hosting our very own "Bread & Wine" themed Easter last year, and I'm convinced that Shauna would have been proud of us if she could have seen it. I remember your whole kitchen smelled like goat cheese biscuits while our husbands hid eggs in the backyard. That was Everett's first Easter, and it was perfect. Everett also spent his first fourth of July at your house and I remember eating apple pie and ice cream on your front porch swing watching our husbands light fireworks in the street. I sat there swinging with you, stuffing our faces with sugar, and I was so grateful for our friendship.

When we met, we had no babies, and now collectively we have three. I remember sitting at Grange munching on a piece of bread when you first told me you were pregnant. The words stumbled out so quickly, you immediately became flustered and broke out in a rash. A few scratches later, your neck was bleeding, and it was perhaps the most awkward and hilarious pregnancy announcement ever. I went back to work that afternoon simultaneously happy for you and disappointed that I wasn't pregnant also, not because I was even ready to be pregnant (I wasn't), but because I wanted us to have babies together so badly.

Babies. Anna, Everett, and Owen. Can you believe they are ours? I remember going to the hospital when both of your babies were born, and being in complete awe of how gorgeous you looked sitting in your bed eating sushi like giving birth was just something you did sometimes. It really wasn't even fair how good you looked. I remember holding Anna and Owen when they were so new, so fresh, not even full days old yet. And I loved them so much because they were a piece of you, and I couldn't help but love all of your pieces.

I remember getting your e-mail with the news of the unthinkable: Jonathan had cancer. He was young and healthy and a new dad and none of it made any sense to me. I pleaded with God and I begged for a miracle, just like every other person in your army. I remember sitting on the floor in Kat's living room with our hands placed on you, praying out loud with more power than we had ever prayed as a group. And I remember sobbing. I was sobbing too hard to pray but even without my words I felt the Holy Spirit all over that room. I remember babysitting Anna while you took Jonathan to chemo. Anna and I played on the floor on her little blanket in my living room and I reassured her over and over again that everything was going to be okay, even though I myself didn't know if everything was going to be okay. Her innocent blue eyes looked at me with curiosity, totally oblivious to anything other than the toys on the floor. And I was thankful for that.

I remember listening to you that year, time and time again, in awe of your grace and faith during what would be the hardest year of your life. I was always scared of saying the wrong thing to you, and I think I even told you that once. I tried to love you as best I could during that time, and I hope it was enough. When Jonathan's scan came back clear, I cried happy tears. My heart felt such relief, such joy, such overwhelming peace. One of my favorite memories with you is the night we did the pub crawl to celebrate Jonathan's victory. I wore Everett strapped in the moby and breastfed him in bars all over town because nothing would have kept me from being there.

I have so many more memories with you, more than I can even count. I remember dancing the night away at Mix with my six month baby bump crammed into a sequin dress to celebrate your 30th birthday. I remember taking Anna and Everett to the pumpkin patch dressed like a cow and monkey. I remember texting you for prayer the night Brett was flying in a storm and my pregnancy hormones had me convinced something was going to happen to him. I sat in my car with a bloody nose and you and Sharon were the only people I could text who wouldn't think I was insane. I remember ringing in 2013 with you and Jonathan at 33rd Street Bistro and talking about writing and blogging the entire time. I remember your baby shower, my baby shower, so.many.baby.showers.

Since the start of our friendship, we've celebrated twelve birthdays, lived in four houses, birthed three babies, and studied probably close to twenty books together in the same bible study. You and I have talked about everything under the sun.....on your couch, on my couch, at the park, on a walk, in the car. We've talked about marriage and motherhood and challenging family dynamics and faith and writing and friendship. Also, boobs. Don't you think we've talked about boobs a lot? You are my friend, my sister in Christ, my free therapist, and so, so much more.

And now, you're leaving Sacramento. You are stepping out in faith to start the next part of your journey and while I am beyond excited to watch you do that and see all of the wonderful things God has in store for you, I am also incredibly, wholeheartedly sad. I know you will just be a phone call and e-mail away, but we both know it's not the same as living, breathing, and giggling in the same room.

We've been friends for a good chunk of my twenties, and if I have learned anything in my twenties about friendship, it is this: good friends are hard to come by.

And you, Lesley Miller, are a damn good friend.

You're one of the best friends I've ever had, and I am so grateful to have had you as a friend and sister and neighbor and part of my village. I truly would not be the person I am today without your influence, your Godly wisdom, your refreshing honesty, and your endless love and encouragement.

Thank you for being you, and even more so: for letting me be me.

I love you to the moon and back.