I've had the habit of having a best friend for a while now. It started in middle school. Her name was Heidi Best. I talked her into trying out for the Varsity soccer team at Irmo High school with me when we were in 7th grade. She had never played soccer before...she was a softball player. But she came out there in her white softball cleats and, without really knowing much about the sport, made the team. She ended up being one of the best players in the state by the time she graduated from Irmo, and went on to play Division I college soccer and now is in med school. Heidi and I were, as the saying goes, attached at the hip. Where one was, the other was close by. We took classes together, rode our bikes everywhere (before we got our licenses, and then it we drove around everywhere), played soccer together on countless teams (for two years, we drove 2 hours each way 3 times a week for practice with an out-of-town team because they were more on our level), and got into trouble together, too. After we graduated, our lives took different paths, and though we've been friends ever since, the depth of our friendship has dwindled over the years. She's in med school now, and this spring will be Dr. Best! Go girl!
In college, I met a precious girl named Mary Claire Holmes. Mary Claire was in my first class at Furman...an 8am English class. She was beautiful and athletic and sweet...I was a little intimidated. But we got to be friends throughout the term, and found ourselves both new members of Delta Delta Delta that year. By midway through our Junior year, I found out that I was the only one who called her Mary Claire still! I quickly dropped the 'Mary'. We were pretty good friends, and decided to live together with two other of our buddies in an apartment. From there, our friendship was on steroids. We made a commitment to pray together every night. And, the crazy thing was that we stuck to it! We got to know each other's little habits and big dreams. Our hearts were bonded, mainly I believe, because of those prayers. After college, we ended up living together again in Charleston, and the friendship continued. There's just something about living with a person that, in positive circumstances, bonds you to her. We ran together, laughed hysterically, sang into our hairbrushes, learned how to cook (really, she taught me), took fun road trips, and cried on each other's shoulders from time to time. Our friendship, rooted in Christ, is one that I cherish every day, and know that it will continue for years to come. One day, the handsome young Citadel graduate Claire was dating told me he needed to talk to me about something important. Chris proceeded to ask me to give up my reign as her best friend...so that he could be her lifelong best friend. I thought, 'well, you THINK you'll be her best friend, but there's no substitute for a girl". Of course, I gave him 'permission', and 9 months later I was celebrating their marriage with them.
Over the last year and a half, I have been developing a friendship with the most wonderful man on Earth. During my bridesmaid's luncheon, I told Claire that though I had been replaced a while back as her #1 best friend, I had kept her as my #1 best friend until that day. That day, she was getting scooted to #2. There's a new best friend in town, and HIS name is Brandon. Brandon and I were married and moved to California. For a while, he was my ONLY friend here, so it was easy to think of him as my best friend. But, again, there's something about going through life with someone that just bonds you together.
My best friend isn't perfect...but he's perfect for me. In the morning when we wake up, I realize that my delightful dream that I just had about him is actually a reality. Sometimes I have a hard time getting up...and then I'll hear him going into the living room to turn on praise music and then come back in to scratch my back and tell me, "Wakey wakey, Coley. It's a beautiful morning, and you're going to do great things today." He's focused and knows the goals he has set for our life are going to take work to achieve. He's not afraid to take the risk. He loves...not just his wife, but also the bum who lives under the bridge by our apartment, and the guy in his Greek class, and my friends here at school to whom he gives encouragement and is a big brother figure. He loves the kids down in the projects and the guys in Dream Center Discipleship who are getting their lives straightened out. He loves his family and my family. He encourages me and challenges me. He listens to me, and even though, being a guy, he naturally wants to 'solve' my problems, he is becoming quite good at just listening to me. He gives hugs freely, and his smile lights up a room. He isn't afraid to put himself out there...to let people know who he really is. He makes me want to be a better person, a better friend, a better wife. He loves Jesus with all of his heart. People can just tell. There's something different about this guy. He shines even among some of the brightest stars here at Fuller and the Dream Center. He likes to play sports, and doesn't get frustrated with me as I try, for the millionth time, to punt the football correctly. He teaches me how to play the guitar, too...and doesn't get mad when my rhythm is off. He makes the bed in the morning and runs to the grocery store and takes out the garbage and washes the car and vacuums. Then he asks me if there's anything he can do to help me out around the house. He cuts my hair, and doesn't get mad when I accidentally use the wrong guard on his hair when I try to cut his. He makes the best eggs for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. He sing and plays his violin for me with joy. He makes me feel safe and taken care of. He tells me I'm beautiful, even when I don't feel beautiful. He gives long back scratches and massages, not just those short ones that end with, 'now, it's my turn'. We laugh, we play, we explore this crazy city together. He lets me cry on his shoulder when I'm sad or lonely or homesick or overwhelmed. We have little inside jokes and are making memories to last a lifetime together. We pray together and dream about what God may have for our lives together. His simple love for me is a pretty close picture, I think, to how God loves me.
Who am I, that I would have a best friend like Brandon? I know that I don't deserve him, but I'm glad to have him.
So sorry, Claire...it looks like you'll be #2 for a long time (and I'm sure I will, too, as you enjoy Chris' friendship for many years to come). But how great is it that our #1's are such holy hotties?!?
My life ROCKS! Thank you, JESUS!