Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Faithful friends who are dear to us...


Today, as in many other class days, tangents were gone off upon during systematic theology.
In order to keep myself from swearing more than usual (and I was swearing under my breath quite a bit when we hit the 20-minute mark), I started thinking about Christmas cards and presents.  Who do I still need to buy gifts for, when will Kristi and I get the time to write and mail cards, is there a cute photo of us from the year that we should get printed?
As I look at our card list, I realize how many people that we love are from our years at Olaf.  We road tripped this summer to see Hannah in Milwaukee and Liz in Madison; Emily and Paul were just in town over Thanksgiving; Amanda and Kira were here last summer; Amy and Sarah are our Saturday brunch buddies; we just saw Catherine, Steven, and little Asher on Monday night for dinner; Eric and Abby’s save-the-date is on our fridge; we just saw Sarah at Christmasfest; we lounged at Becky’s cabin this summer with Liz and Sarah and Kevin and Jose; Joel just met me for beer and theology talk last month; there were tons of Oles at my birthday party last spring; we did Sauce/Cause Trivia night with Sam and Joel this summer.   
It occurred to me too how many people I’ve met at Luther, just in these short four months (how can it be finals already?!), who will be added to the Christmas list in our future.  It is a really great place, and there are some really great people.  
Living twenty minutes away from campus makes “community building” tricky - I don’t have the privilege of walking down the hall and knocking on a friend’s door when I need to hash out an upcoming paper or that day’s class discussion.  If I want to watch a movie at 2am, the only person who’s joining me is Kristi - and the cat.  So I tried to be intentional these past few months; I sought out “community building” activities and stayed on campus later than I needed and arrived earlier than necessary and friended everyone I could on Facebook.  And I definitely fretted about friends and friend groups - Kristi can attest to that.  There were weeks when I was 83% ready to pack up and move closer to Luther, because I couldn’t imagine building quality friendships unless I was within walking distance of campus.
Now, as the semester ends, I realize how many great people I’ve been blessed to meet, and to call my friends.  
Friends who sit with me in chapel, and sing with me in choir.
Who eat my cookies and share their cheesecake.
Who annotate our conversations with their own books and article suggestions.
Who counsel me through crises of doctrine, and laugh with me when Guillermo says “cheeks.”
Who pull up yet-another-chair for lunch and fill my meals with laughter.
Who take that extra moment to shout “Hey girl!” as they’re dragging themselves from 8am Greek and pass me in the hallway.
Who talk football with me on Mondays when the enlightened of us grace the campus with our green-and-gold.
Who foolishly enter into bets with me on Packers-Vikings games, and properly pay their bets with a pint at Manning’s.
Who invite me into their own circle of friends.
Who call when I don’t show for Bible study.
Who email me scholarly articles with Harry Potter references.
Who find reason to celebrate my nerdiness.
Who have begun to know my story, and to honor it, and share theirs.
And friends who have, so amazingly, begun to join my “cloud of witnesses” - the people in my life who have laid claim to my audacious extraordinary call and said, “Yes.  Yes.  Yes.”
May G-d continue to surround me
with physical manifestations of Her lovingkindness;
may I stay open and aware to the same;
may we all strive to create community in the midst of seeming impossibility.

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