I didn't get her at first.
I didn't know her at all and my memory of her when we were still cute little tots, with haircuts that we despised (at least one of us did), has escaped me. Perhaps she remembers more than I do. I was always at the back of the line because I was tall, and she was in the front because she was, well, petite. I only knew her from a distance—around 15 kids far.
But beyond the tiny chairs of kindergarten class, I recall things more vividly. I've come to share with her the intensity of academic competition, and the battle to win Harry Potter's heart via the Internet. As elementary school kids, we've traveled further than anyone we know; the world was ours with books and time stood still during lunch. But time would soon resume so we could brush our teeth before the afternoon classes. We both saw the same baby blue sky (what did an adult blue sky look like?) and shared at least one meal together five days a week, not counting recess.
And while we mightily tried to get Harry to marry one of us, we knew that no boy (magical or otherwise) could top what we already had. Fine, Draco Malfoy was still up for grabs so I called dibs on him. At 10 years old, we were beginning to grow a deep understanding of that mysterious word: friendship.
Even the emotionally unstable and hormonal days of high school proved necessary for us to refine our relationship, to mature our fragile hearts and overthinking brains. At 23, we still have fragile hearts and overthinking brains but every day we grow wiser and stronger. By grace.
We carry similar passions for the written word and creativity looked different for both of us. I prefer to pick up drum sticks and guitar picks. She wielded the pen not only to craft words but also write words to create a picture. Kindred spirits we were and even as the tides of life keep turning, kindred spirits we remain.
Today we walk with the same God, the same Lord and Savior who redeemed us by his grace and ordained our friendship. I'll be forever grateful that a friend like her stayed long enough to be my Maid of Honor. And remain friends, we will. Thank you, Chai. I love you very much.
Today we are in this pilgrimage together to love God and love his people—a journey that started 17 years ago, 15 kids far.