25 Jan

These words have been stored in my heart for far too long now. There is no good reason as to why I’ve waited so long to share them. I guess its always a little difficult to share your deepest feelings….

Friendship hasn’t always come easy for me. I’ve always envied people who can walk into a room and instantly connect with those around them. I’ve always been a little shy and reserved on the inside; I try to pretend I’m outgoing for the sake those who could be a new friend ๐Ÿ˜‰ Having my heart broken more than a handful of times has changed how I approach potential friendships. So, unfortunately, for many years I chose not to pursue opportunities to get to know people more intimately for fear that I could be hurt again.

So on the afternoon of Boxing Day 2008, I put up my guard again as this fabulous red head from my past years, where I had been a silly teenager, entered my home. There she stood, camera in hand, to take pictures of me at the fattest I had ever been in my life (pregnancy can do that to a person). My husband had stayed in touch with her over the years and had offered up my pregnant belly to her as she began a new professsion in photography. With her stylish wardrobe, a budding career in Interior Design and a Downtown condo, I figured there was no possible connection between us beside the summers we had spent together at Bible camp seemingly eons ago. Our afternoon together was pleasant and I thought nothing beyond the possibility of some cool shots of me before having a baby. Just over two years have past since that day and I’ve come to see how very wrong I was.

As my daughter was born, there were several more opportunities to get to know this wonderful person behind the camera. With her ease of conversation and generous spirit, I found myself looking for more opportunities to chat with her…. to get to know her again. My guard had begun to weaken and could it be? Was I allowing myself to form a new friendship?

I believe that I had finally started to realize what I treasure I had been given when a year ago she offered me an invitation to a coffee group. Through these face to face meetings with like-minded woman every few weeks, I was blessed to see just how wrong I had been about us having nothing in common. Occassional get togethers turned into daily morning chats (thanks to the magic that is Facebook!) And through these chats, and sporadic vents, I’ve come to value and cherish this beautiful woman and all that she embodies.

With a zest for truly living life and experiencing all the creative possibilities it holds, she has shared more with me than I could have ever imagined. By opening myself up to really get to know someone again, I have learned all about her amazing dreams and sucesses, along with her insecurities and disappointments. I have seen what it means to handle difficult situations with poise and grace while still being real enough to acknowledge that adversity can hurt. She has shown me what it means to be professional in any situation while still being able to laugh at the ridiculousness of everyday life. I have learned that it is alright to like fancy and beautiful things without feeling guilty about it. But that it truly is the simple things (like a cup of tea and good book) that bring real happiness. But the greatest gift that I could have been given is a new perspective of myself and how the real me feels about the people around me.

Under her guidance and kind words, I have learned that everyday IS a new day and that I really should not bother to stay hung up on the frustrations of yesterday; or even the frustrations of breakfast for that matter! I have learned the value of networking, even if a new relationship will only lead me to discovering a new band or learning how to try a new hairstlye (all useful things, right?) I’ve started to realize the joy of setting and accomplishing new goals. I’ve learned what contentment can be found through working with my hands and doing things for myself.ย  But what I am most thankful for is how she has made me feel about myself. Through the imperfections that I see in the mirror, her truthful and humbling words of encouragement have lead me to the realization that I am beautiful. Her work behind the camera and her words in front of it have unveiled pieces of who I truly am and who I continue to desire to be.

Sure, not every friendship is meant to be as meaningful or revolutionary as this, but as I have opened my heart to her I choose to see and take away only those things that are beneficial and uplifting to both of us. As our journey along life’s path continues, whether together or apart, my deepest desire and prayer is that I can give back to this friendship as much (or even more!) than she has given to me.

“Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another!”
โ€” Jane Austen, Emma

I think it is vitally important to acknowledge the people in our lives who give us strength and hope everyday. My wish for all of you is that you would learn to open your heart to those around you and appreciate them for who God has created them to be. You never know what a casual acquaintance may have to offer as you make your way through another day.

To my dear, sweet friend: I pray that you will continue to discover all the joy and excitement that life and its new adventures have for you. Please know that you are deeply loved and appreciated and that I will always be ONE of your greatest admirers and loudest cheerleaders ๐Ÿ˜‰ May the Lord bless and keep you; may His face shine upon you and give you peace.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
โ€” Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

One Response to “Friendship”

  1. Lesley January 25, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Erin, this was just beautiful! Thank you for this! My passion is to inspire and encourage others and I’m so happy that I’ve gained an awesome friend in the as well! I love you dearly and can’t wait to see where God takes you and how he expands your heart more then you can ever imagine!

    Thank you, for accepting me as I am, even with your guard up, you still accepted me and I am eternally grateful!

    I loved the Jane Austen quotes, my favourite ever!

    Oh, and if I recall, my stylish outfit consisted of a sweatshirt and jeans. ๐Ÿ˜›

    And yes, you can like girly fancy things without feeling guilty – we were born to like things that make us feel beautiful!

    This is turning into more of a letter then a comment, but I appreciate and love you!

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