Ha! You thought I wouldn't actually write this blog today, but here I am! As promised!
So let me tell you a story about my friend AmyB:
During the summer of my seventh and eighth grade years, my county's board of ed re-districted the middle schools. My best friends of many years were transferred to a brand new school while a bunch of new kids transferred into mine. It was kind of a chaotic way to transfer students - just for one year of middle school (during already the most socially awkward years of a preteen's life). When eighth grade started, there was a definite division between the new and old students at the school. All of my close friends, though, (and I mean ALL of them) were transferred, so lucky me had nothing to lose. Welcome, new kids! And as a result, AmyB had entered my life.
AmyB is one of those girls who doesn't seem to realize what a strong (and good) impact she has on others. She probably doesn't remember any of the things I'm about to tell you, but they are things that I will never forget :)
So as I've said, AmyB and I met in middle school and we were friends. We had a lot of mutual friends, too, so we hung out in groups on a pretty regular basis. As any of her friends know, she does a fanTAStic impression of her Korean mother and it is hil.AR.ious. AmyB is a wonderful storyteller and has perfect comedic timing and emphasis. I remember specifically we met each other in the hall during class one day (I think we both had bathroom passes) and she just told me a story about her mom (who is a wonderful lady...but funny to hear stories about) and I was almost bursting with laughter. It's been so long ago that I don't remember the story, but I will always remember how AmyB can make me laugh so genuinely.
Fast forward to high school....AmyB and I were districted to different schools (like I said before...not the best districting choices). We both played sports at our schools during the first semester of ninth grade - field hockey to be precise. Her school was visiting at mine for a game, and she was the goalie. I was SO excited for that game even though I really hated field hockey - all because I knew I'd get to see AmyB. I talked to my coach the entire week before during practice to make sure I'd be allowed to talk to AmyB for a little bit before the game. I got to sit with her on the hill while she put her pads on, and I just thought she was the coolest person. In that conversation, she told me that she really enjoyed playing lacrosse more, and that she'd definitely be playing it that spring. Now, I don't remember specifics, but I do know that sometime after she told me that, I made the decision to try out for lacrosse that year. It's quite possible that because of her, I found the sport I loved and happened to be pretty decent at. Sophomore year, she made varsity lacrosse.....and so did I. I always looked forward to the games between our schools, all because of my AmyB.
Fast forward to the middle of junior year of high school...I got to transfer to AmyB's school! Through some bizarre circumstances, I was given the option to transfer schools, and I really wanted to be back at school with my favorite friends from eighth grade. Unfortunately for me, though, when I transferred, most of my friends from a few years prior had moved on and they didn't think I was very cool anymore (ok, well they were probably right....I shifted from the "cool" crowd to the choir/drama/artsy-fartsy crowd, but I didn't care that I wasn't cool anymore). I couldn't play lacrosse that year because of the anti-recruiting laws, so I was the dorky girls lacrosse team manager instead. I did get to play with the team that summer at a tournament, though, and playing with AmyB was SO much fun! She really was the only person who cared enough to talk to me during the games - no one else even bothered to look my way. But still, AmyB and I didn't have many mutual friends anymore, so there wasn't much hanging out. Bummer.
But then! Sophomore year of college! Reunited at last! Who knew that AmyB was friends with all of my new friends from my new church?! Things were weird for about an hour when we first saw each other, but then they went right back to good ol' Jess & AmyB times. For the next couple of years, AmyB provided a constant dose of joy and laughter in my daily life. From ridiculous stories about her work as a nurse in the ER to silly stories about boyfriends, she could always, always brighten up my darkest day.
Then I moved to SC. But you know what? We managed to stay in touch and she was still able to make me laugh from hundreds of miles away. I've lost touch with many of my friends from up north, but AmyB just never stopped putting effort into our friendship. She is a dedicated friend, that's for sure. Even Clark knows how great she is - she was considering moving down south for a bit and Clark insisted that I tell her she could live with us if she wanted to. She just overflows with fun and she has the most attractive personality - I've never met anyone who doesn't love to be around her.
And then....? She moved. But not to SC. She moved to Iraq to serve our country for 2 years. My heart just aches to see her and hear her voice. I miss her more than I can express. I think about AmyB all.the.time. My prayer life has been a zillion times stronger for the past couple of months, and why? Because she's always on my heart and so I pray for her. And then since I'm praying for her, I go ahead and pray for everyone else, too. She has had a direct impact on my relationship with God for the better. She always encourages me as my sister in Christ, and I love her. I have maintained few friendships with people longer than I have with her....what has it been? Eighth grade was 1997 for us...so 12 years this year (and no, I don't care about the few years we weren't very close...we still knew and liked each other). AmyB is beautiful and hilarious and strong and faithful....I could go on and on with all the nice things that she is. She is the complete inspiration for this blog theme series, because I just had to tell the world how truly wonderful she is.
I don't really know how to end this, so I'll just say this:
Amy, I love you and I love that we're friends. I don't tell you enough how great I think you are, but you are amazing. I have always admired and looked up to you, and I can't wait to be friends for 12 more years and beyond. I'm always praying for you and I hope that you're happy and joyful, and I want you to know that you're very missed here in the homeland. Here's to you! :)
You can read all of AmyB's awesome blog at Remember to Play.