I turned "I didn't think this is where my life would be at this age." I thought it was going to be a horrible day for many reasons. One, it was my first birthday being so far away from my family. I would miss them so much (and my birthday blessings). Two, as previously stated, it's difficult to get older and closer to the possibility that you will be SINGLE FOREVER. And three, I had just had a root canal. Painful to the mouth and the wallet.
But Saturday night, I got a series of picture texts indicating that my sister, Amy, and a good friend, Hillary, were on their way to Charleston with my 4 month old niece, Sarah. Surprise! There were tears, ladies and gents. I cannot tell you how awesome this was and how loved I felt. They brought junk food, conversation, and my BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS!
That's right - I got to open letters from all of my family members with birthday blessings written down. Which means I can re-read them when I need some encouragement. Which is often.
So Amy, Hillary, and Sarah stayed overnight. They went to my church, we had lunch with some friends, and went down the creepy tunnel that connects the jail to the courthouse. Plus I got in a lot of baby snuggles!
There are some other people who I need to give a shout out to who also loved me well on this dreaded day. (Yes, I'm being dramatic. Poetic license.)
I got to Skype with them long enough for them to sing Happy Birthday. (Either Kylie or Chloe wouldn't STOP singing it). Also long enough for my niece, Elisa, to tell me that she wants me to get fired so I will move back home. She agreed to pray that I get a new job up there instead.
The friend who listens:
Nicole, who took me out to dinner on Thursday, and gave me the most awesome gift. The best part of the gift was that it was something I had mentioned wanting, not as a hint or anything, but just something I mentioned in conversation. And she listened and was generous enough to give it to me as a gift.
The friends who give you their time:
Jesse and Meredith, who said they would come to church with me and then take me to lunch afterwards, when I thought that I was going to be alone the whole day. And even when Amy and Hillary came and they could have gotten out of it, they still showed up. (and had fun. I think.) That really meant a lot.
The friend who always has my back:
My beautiful friend, Heidi, who I know God brought into my life to make me a stronger, better, more compassionate person. Who is always just a Skype call away. Who knows me better than anyone outside of my family. Who wrote some very lovely things about me on Facebook and sent me mail!
The friends who I am just getting to know:
Many of the women in my small group texted me about my birthday. Jana, my self-proclaimed BFF, and Sarah, who were going to watch Jane Austen movies and eat ice cream with me, but agreed to reschedule for another time so I could spend that time with Amy and Hillary. It's taken quite awhile, but I'm starting to feel a little bit more that I belong and that there are people here who care about me.
So many people reached out to me this weekend. I was overwhelmed by it and amazed by how happy I felt. I am so grateful to all of you (even if you didn't make the list on this post).
If you have a single friend - this is how you can make them feel loved. Show up, listen to them, encourage them, give them your time, write down what you like about them.
You might just change their day/weekend/life.