My Most Inspiring Friend

I have the blessing of knowing friendship in this life, only (and fully) by the grace of God. Each friendship points to the redemptive refuge that God allows me to thrive in every day…and through His blessings, friendships thrive.

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Camino a la Virgen de la Chapi, Peru 2015

One friendship has brought many more blessings (some in the form of friendships), however.

One friendship brought me back to my faith through her example…and through this, gave meaning to my life.

One friendship has evolved since we were 12 years old, until now, at 23 (and 22) years old, and will continue to change with time.

Only one friendship can demonstrate who I already recognize to be my maid of honor, and I don’t even have the slightest idea who my future husband is (funny how God’s plans are put into place…but I can’t complain, I stand in awe and often, in joy as well).

One friendship has involved quite a list of shared experiences:

Summer camps (attending together and leading together in recent years), basketball camps, attempting to cook exquisite meals for both our families, COUNTLESS sleepovers, being student theater managers together, her setting me up with my first date *ever*– for a high school dance, going on camping trips with our families, movie nights with our families, her bailing me out of the most ridiculous situations that childhood could allow, countless masses shared together, lots of skiing together, meeting some of the most genuine, good-hearted people I have the honor to know through her, receiving (and taking) the advice of a lifetime,  which turned into all my greatest adventures of this lifetime (Camp Foley, UST, Peru, certain faith groups, a community to adore/share so much with me in Minneapolis…the list continues for ages, I promise you).

I hope that the following ‘open letter to my best friend’ addresses many of the questions I receive regarding her vocation; I hope that it clarifies this: where there is great sacrifice for something Greater, that is where there is also the purest Love a human could know.

 

Dear Han,

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On our way to Camp Foley. August 2007

As I look back at our many years supporting each other, I now am able to notice one thing: you have put faith into our friendship every step of the way. Thank you so much for doing this, especially when it was difficult. During the times of my life when I didn’t believe in much at all, you found a way to put that light in my life that faith really always has been, whether I was able to recognize this or not at the time. Today, you took your first serious step in the religious life! You became a Carmelite today, and I was so thrilled to see you smiling so much this morning. I know you’ve had many people not understand this huge step in your life. I was one of them for quite a bit of your journey. As you may sense, I still can’t pretend that I understand every detail of your calling, but it’s not my job to understand. It’s my job to have faith in God and support you, my sister in Christ, along every part of your path toward Heaven. I pray that I did well in supporting you today. I pray that I will continue to improve in my support for you every following day of my life. You’ve been such a constant, dependable presence in my life. You’ve been a greater source of strength and wisdom for me than you could ever realize! I know why, just as you do- You know Him so well! You are giving your life to praise and serve Him. It takes someone very invested and certain of His greatness to do such a great act, yet seeing you today as though it was any other day of our friendship– this was just one more example of your great confidence in Him, by His grace. Hannah, thank you so much for everything  you are to me, today and always. This bold, counter-cultural decision to follow your vocation is the most important step in our friendship. Be most assured of my prayers as I get to see you further fulfilling God’s great plans for you to reach your spot in Heaven. I hope to be right there with you, so always pray for me to listen to the Holy Spirit’s unique, bold inspirations just as you have, please.

Until I can visit you in 2017, I leave you with all Christ’s love I can send your way!

Your best-friend-for-always,

J

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God bless everyone reading, and keep Hannah and her family in your prayers! I’ll give you an update about other events concerning my return to the U.S. soon-ish, hehe! Much love to all.

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St. Paul, Fall 2015
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