This past weekend I visited my friend Sara. We figure we met online around age 12; we certainly met in person for the first time at age 16. Not only did she know me at my craziest, she introduces me to people by telling them about it.
“This is Amy. I didn’t like her when we met because she was super hyper.”
“This is my friend Amy. In high school I pulled her off picnic tables because when debate got really heated she would turn bright red and stand on them to make her point.”
“This is Amy! She went on her first plane ride with me and I kept having to forcibly drag her through the airport because she kept pausing to complain about the historical inaccuracy of the murals on the airport walls.”
And the worst part? I don’t have any horrible stories to tell back! Either I don’t remember them or she was just really mature at 16. Or, as probably more likely, I was the crazy one and anything she did paled compared to me standing on picnic tables.
Or irritating the tour guide at the White House with my steady stream of commentary.
Or staying up till 4 am watching the Disney Channel because by golly I was not going to let the cable TV in our hotel room go to waste.
In conclusion, it is good to have old friends. It keeps you humble.
Today Bekah and I went back to our roots and canvassed all day with Americans For Prosperity.
It was fun. Lovely weather, terrific GOTV survey, old friends. It made me miss working for AFP. Or more specifically, miss the possibility of it all. Of working full time and doing a job where every new projects holds potential. Of meeting new people and hearing their stories. Of creating memories. It was a season and like all seasons came to an end. But I miss it!
And I’m glad for days like today where I get to go back out and volunteer. (All the fun, none of the pressure.)
After a summer spent meeting new people and being on my best behavior, it is fun road tripping with my siblings. There is no fooling them and no point trying. At the same time, I don’t need to wonder if I should or could take a leader role since – by virtue of being the oldest – I am the de facto leader. It makes things simpler; it makes things fun.
We are having a blast so far seeing family and the occasional old friend!
(Aunt Joan, Anna has the picture of us on her phone so I will post it later!)
“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Or if I could reword, “It is one of the blessings of old friends that they have seen at you at your stupidest and still associate with you.”
I was reminded of that last night at the Gen J gala. 8 years ago I attended as a camper. 4 years ago I was a counselor. Now I am a community member coming to help out.
Last night was a blast. I don’t have any pictures, but here is a snapshot of me 8 years ago with my pals. They saw me at my stupidest and still associate with me ❤ At least most of the time.
‘That looks like Joel,’ I think as I stand in the church lobby and observe the other attendees. ‘But he lives in Virginia.’
Joel Grewe is the director of Generation Joshua and a mentor of my high school and college years.
For a moment I marveled at the resemblance before realizing that Generation Joshua’s iGovern West camp started this week. It could be him.
“Joel?” I ask.
Considering the odd surroundings, he takes my presence in stride for a few moments before the oddity strikes him. He motions to where the other iGovern counselors are gathered, ready for lunch. I’m ecstatic. These are my old friends. I practically run across the sanctuary to say hi.
Then I remember what I’m wearing. I chose sleep over makeup this morning; my jeans have a huge hole and my top is a castoff from my sister – a bedazzled Star Wars t-shirt I only wore because I haven’t done laundry. To match my odd shirt, I paired my choker necklace and I have a decided goth-wannabe feel. Or I would if I bothered with makeup. I wish I had; I’m so broken out today.
I feel very self-conscious. But also excited. Everyone is confused to see me. It is so good to see them, even briefly. These are my people. They invite me to the camp gala on Tuesday night. I don’t have a ride but I will find one. I’m more excited about the gala than I was to go to the Supreme Court last weekend.
My ecstatic mood lasts through brunch with the other Young Life interns. I’m bubbly and bouncy in a way they haven’t seen before. I’ve mellowed a lot…but there is nothing like Generation Joshua to bring out all my enthusiasm!
9 years ago, I attended a Do Hard Things conference in Chicago. During one of the breaks I was browsing the store when a voice from across the table said,
“Are you Bucky Bookworm?” (Or something like that.)
In surprise I looked up to find a stranger, but not really a stranger. Though I had never met her in person, Melody and I were friends on the Generation Joshua forums. She had recognized my name and came to introduce herself. Along with Melody came her sister, Esther.
Esther was also a friend from the forums. The two were high on my “bucket list” of people I wanted to meet in person.
We met again at camp that summer.
We remained friends on the forums and on Facebook but as we grew older we started to lose touch. Esther visited Bryan College while I was a student there so we caught up briefly. However, our friendship slipped into the calm obscurity of two people who are bad at keeping in contact long-distance.
Until I noticed on Facebook that she was in Colorado Springs!
We caught up and grabbed dinner this week. (And if you are wondering, yes, that is the shirt from yesterday’s post!) The meal and conversation reminded me how delightful old friends are. We haven’t kept up in years and our interests and hobbies long since diverged. Yet once we started chatting, a dozen mutual acquaintances came up and countless little memories or forum posts needed analyzing. Every adventure and IRL meeting with other Gen Jers deserved a quick mention.
It was fun. I think one of the best parts of getting older is that your friends get older too. You become a different person as the years pass, but an old friend reminds you (for better or worse!) of who you were and how you’ve changed. Esther is no longer the shy younger sister peeking behind Melody at a Do Hard Things conference. She’s a confident, fun, kind young woman who is taking on a new job in a new city. I’m excited to see what God has in store for her! And I’m always grateful for Generation Joshua and the relationships that developed and remain even as time and space continue to separate us.
Half asleep I started chasing a day dream about a blog post idea when I realized…I didnt blog yet today! Scary!
I am home safe. It was a short but fun visit to MN. I enjoyed the solo road trip to and from and made a serious dent in my audio book (Bleak House by Charles Dickens). It was lovely to see old friends and reminisce about former adventures.
Sometimes, it is nice just to get away and reevaluate.