seven years ago i fell in love with a group of girls. we shared treasured whispers in a semi-round circle. one would lean on the other much like the disciples in the last supper painting. they would come each week wearing melancholy and confusion on t-shirts, in notebooks and hanging from their lips. their questions would spill on the floor between us and flood the center of my heart. their commonality was an unmistakable desire to experience life. life with God. life without. life in the good. life in the bad. satiate a hunger. a hunger to worship. worship Him, worship youth, worship apathy, worship the boy down the hall, worship anything. each one tugged from side to side – fill life with good? fill life with pleasure? isn’t it all the same?

i felt so at home, so at ease there – in the midst of their quest for life, for meaning. my memory still fresh – the doubts, the longings, the feel of a broken heart. for one reason or another they felt free to lay these out in the quiet of a hallway corner. in my heart i loved them, thanked them each endlessly for their honesty, for saying the things my 18 year old self once felt. there was just something about this particular group of girls that caused my heart to knit itself to theirs. forever.

they are growing up now. i see them less and less each passing year. in fact, with most of them i don’t know what their life holds now. just pieces i hear through the grapevine, but not the whole of it, the truth of it. i know that they are in the process of shedding their youth and yet when i see pictures or see them in passing – i still see that familiar girl inside of them – smiling at me.

regardless of how much time passes, how much i don’t know of what they have lived – what mountains they’ve climbed, what peaks they’ve reached, what valleys they’ve laid in – regardless – i love them. at a particular point in my life, they gave my own pain, discomfort, loss, insecurity…they gave it all purpose. purpose to show them that i survived. that i made it. proof that even through the nights they felt would never pass, they would see morning. i became for a time, living proof that it, whatever it was, would be bearable. i made a commitment within myself to show them that this God i so adamantly held high before them is real.

these girls, perhaps now women, have lingered in my mind lately. maybe because i’ve crossed paths with a few, maybe because i’ve seen glimpses of their new life, reminisced about the old. as i thought about them and prayed blessings over their life, a thought came: perhaps one good thing that can come of this disease in lucia is that i will continue to stand as living proof for them to see that i will survive. perhaps as they watch me face this monster they will see in me an everlasting faith in God. a never-ending love of Him. even with doubts, fears, worries – the darkest nights – the heaviest tears. i promise to myself, to them, to all who can see that i will rise and i will praise Him. that though i may not understand Him to the fullest, i will love Him. perhaps through this messy drawing that is my life they will see glimpses of His mercy. and perhaps even if it helps just one of them hold tight till the morning light shines once again – perhaps then He will show me the beauty in my path.

amanda, jill, holly, kara, suzanne, liz, kalyn, kaity, kate, samantha, miriam – i know you may be on the highest of peaks or in the lowest of valleys. either way, i stand here for you praying that my life – any pain and any miracles that i experience – that they may all be a shining light for you. a promise, a reminder to you that nothing will ever separate you from His love.

i miss you.

now i will add the token melancholy song to this post. i would add a sappy christian song, but i’ve gotta earn my street cred back with them. so, here’s mumford & sons instead:

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