Saturday, March 30, 2013

What a Wonderful Wall*e

Hard to believe that it's been one week today since my friend Wall*e married the love of her life.

She's a beautiful bride!

Even though I and many of my other friends are already married and engaged, her wedding somehow felt different to me. Besides being incredibly emotional because of the epic romance years-in-the-making that she shares with her husband, it also sparked in me some kind of early-life crisis. Not just a general life crisis, mind you, but a crisis of friendship.

You see, Wall*e does nothing halfway when it comes to her relationships. As I have witnessed over the last ~8 years, she is "all in," to the hilt of every relationship. She has taught me so many things about friendship and how to be a friend, as well as just a person in general. I have so many treasured memories with her of moments that changed my perspective on life, God, love, snacking, dancing, self-image, church membership, family, work, and so many other huge topics.

Sanblan & Wall*e, back in ancient times

As I watched Lindsay walk down the aisle to dedicate her life in romance and friendship to one man, forsaking all others, I knew our friendship would change, and I was gripped with this intense worry that perhaps I hadn't made the most of the years we had together as single girls. I worried that now I wouldn't be able to make the most of the time we still have in close proximity, before her life or mine moves us apart geographically. Then I began to generalize this fear to all my other relationships.

I can think of many wasted opportunities and careless choices to put work over love, things before people, worries before relationships. This does not satisfy! I can't abide this kind of life, and I don't want to harbor any regrets like this.

I don't really buy into the "no regrets" philosophy, because I think even the pain of regret holds a lesson for now, and for the future. Listening to what makes us regret is an educational process. Still, once we've culled the lessons, I believe in tossing the leftovers and not dwelling on things we wish we'd done differently, or more, or better. Just live what's learned.

As I tried to listen to what was making me feel worried, like I was losing something, I realized that my Wall*e has been such an example to me of what a true friend should be. More than anything, I needed to actively spend time appreciating what I had received from her as a friend. I reflected on a few lessons she's taught me, and I thought it wouldn't do any harm to share.

1-Be Yourself. I know it's very trendy to say this and indoctrinate elementary kids against peer pressure, but what I mean here is that, in friendships, it doesn't do any good to try and say the right things if you don't mean them, or to get jealous over the roles that other friends play in the lives of friends and feel like we should copy their other friends, or to try and make ourselves pleasing and presentable to our friends according to what we think they want from us. Lindsay has always been so thoroughly and earnestly who she is, never trying to compete or tow the party line. She has let her personality shine, has been honest about her flaws, and completely generous to allow her friends to have other friends, and maintain her true friendships with many. She doesn't try to hide her pains or problems, and doesn't expect anyone else to do so either. This is so simple that words don't do it justice, but the ability to be herself is something Lindsay has mastered, and the good that it does to the souls of others is incalculable.

2-Be Generous. Lindsay has always amazed me by offering me more grace than I offer myself. She anticipates how my life stressors might impact my friend "performance," and never expects more from me than I can give. She is forgiving and generous in her estimations of others. I have always been on the receiving end of this generosity, and I hope that I haven't abused it. This is the kind of quality that makes one able to go forward unafraid in a friendship. And it's the kind of quality that makes you feel like it's okay to frantically re-dial a friend's number over and over for help in a dire situation (which I have done literally or figuratively many times). I have never been afraid to tell Lindsay the truth, even when I'm ashamed of myself, because I know she isn't judging me and she will help me recover from disappointing myself.

3-Be Light and Dark. No one needs a friend who is all one or all the other all the time. We all desperately need to know that both light and darkness are real in life, and trust ourselves and our friends to journey through both light and darkness together in honesty. My friend has done this expertly, both personally and alongside me (and others, I know it). Along with this comes the idea that the burdens of life are shared and the power (so to speak) in friendship is balanced. It's not one person always talking about her burdens and the other person always listening and advising, there's a give-and-take, such that when one is down, the other pulls her up, knowing that soon she'll need the friend to turn and give her the next helping hand.

4-Be Loyal. You can't be a friend without being a friend through thick and thin. Good times come and bad ones are just as real. A friend is not a friend who rejects one with whom she disagrees. A friend stands firm and stands by, committed to loving through it. It is more important to love truthfully than to demand perfection.

5-Be Sure to Snack. There should always ultimately be some breaking of bread together. With Lindsay I have eaten burdensome helpings of creme pies and inappropriate numbers of peanut butter pretzels. I don't regret a single bite, and I'm pretty certain each snack break bonded us in a new way.

There's no doubt that I've been blessed with many amazing women as friends. Lindsay has continuously been one of them for the past 8 years, and hope we can be white-haired wacko ladies together one day. My goal is to make the most of opportunity and learn from my friends how to be a better friend.

Also, Wall*e, we have got to figure out how to get more pictures together! We never seem to pose when we are together -- far too busy talking about the important things in life, presumably. ;) Anyhow, thanks for being my friend, and being my teacher, and being yourself. I wish the rest of your life in marriage will be an unimaginable treasure.
More amazing friends!: Saundie, Muriel, McFearless, Wall*e, EAR, Sister, My Jessica

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