“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I still remember sitting in the chapel at UNL praying for a GIANT sign from the Lord that I was supposed to say no to grad school and continue with FOCUS. “ANYTHING. Please. Just slam a door in yo girl’s FACE! PLEASE.” That’s what a majority of the conversation was. (Correct, I say things like, “yo” to our Lord and Savior. He accepts me as I am.) Anyway. I didn’t get any fireworks in the air, there were no roses, or special deliveries full of the answer. But once I surrendered everything I had left to him in prayer, he did make it clear.
“Think of the people you will meet. The people that I want to place in your life this next year… they are why.”
By the end of my holy hour, I was filled with a deep peace. I was full of gratitude for my year as a missionary at UNL and all of the amazing people I met and had the opportunity to mentor. And also full of gratitude for the people I was about to meet. The people I couldn’t imagine could be any better than those He had already graced me with.
I remember thinking, “Lord, all I have to do is send a ‘Yes’ in an email and I’m off to England for school. I’m so dang close.” It’s like I was about to take the token leap of faith, and then the Lord turned my head to the right and I saw a crowd of people in the other direction. People whom He had placed there. Strangers that, I knew deep in my heart, would be so very important to me.
I had no CLUE what I was doing when I finally said yes to FOCUS. To be honest, when they told me NYU, I just prayed they (missionaries included) wouldn’t think I was insane. (Which turned out to be only half answered… :))
However, with each new person I met, I was humbly reminded that I came an email away from NEVER meeting them. Never laughing with them, learning from them, crying with them, praying with them, loving them, or receiving their love in return. That sounds extremely cheesy, but gosh is was one of the biggest gifts I was granted this year. I can’t imagine my life now without these people. And I thank God every day for giving me the courage to continue with FOCUS.
If I met you this year, PRAISE GOD. You are so very important to me, and I don’t take our friendship lightly. Thank you for all the ways in which you have inspired me and taught me how to be a better person. I am in awe of how good God is, to have given me the opportunity to meet you, and call you my friend.
*To all of the students and new friends at NYU, what a blessing you are. I cannot explain how much you’ve done for me this year. From how to ride the subway, to how to hear God in the city, you have left me in awe by your strength, humility, and desire to know our Lord. And a special shout out to my senior ladies, talk about STRENGTH! I love you all and I wish more than anything I could be there for your graduation! You go, Glen Cocos.
To my team and all my missionary frands! Can you believe we almost didn’t meet!? WHAT! I honestly cannot express how lucky I am to know all of you. From training, to campus, to the Culture Project in between! What amazing people you are. How beautiful is it when just a years friendship can feel like much, much longer than that. Thank you for the encouragement, for the shared stories, for your passion, and for your vulnerability.
Friends, I just met you and this is CRAZY, but here’s my gratitude, (you’ve changed my life)- there is no “maybe”.
I hope, if anything, I’ve brought a unique sense of humor to your lives. 🙂
Love you all!!