Monday, February 06, 2012

Denise, Kristi and Abe

Next Sunday is my friend Denise’s birthday. I always remember her birthday because it falls on Lincoln’s birthday, which is also the birthday of Kristi Kennison, my best friend from grade school. Yes, having a friend with the same name did occasionally get confusing. No, I do not know why I remember all that about February 12. But I do. And it’s coming up, so I’ve been thinking about Denise and Kristi. Lincoln, not so much.

Kristi and I became friends in third grade and were best friends from then through fifth. We went to different schools in sixth grade and lost touch. I ran into her in Target right before we moved to Lansing; we exchanged emails but I lost the paper. Yes, kids, I remember when I didn’t walk around with an iPhone in my pocket, when I actually had to find a pen and a piece of paper to write down names and numbers. I’ve searched for her on Facebook to no avail. I’m kind of hoping she has a Google alert with her name and this will show up and she’ll contact me and we’ll be best friends again! Okay, not the best friends part, but I surely would love to know what she’s up to. (Of course, if she’s not on FB, the likelihood that she has a Google alert is slim to none, but here’s hoping.)

As for Denise, I met her right after I became a mom. We attended the same church, and even though we were in the same stage of life, it was obvious she knew way more about living than I did.

She had a decade on me and she had lived it well. She’d spent time as a missionary. She’d worked as a physical therapist. She’d traveled and toured and lived the heck out of her 20’s. She got married at the end of them and became a stay-at-home mom when Madison arrived. And that’s when she invited me and four other ladies, all flush with the excitement of our first borns, to join her for a weekly Bible study at her house.

I don’t remember a single thing we studied. But I remember the passion Denise had for Jesus and the Bible. I remember wanting to feel the same. I remember wanting to be as wise as she was. I remember wanting to have the open-door policy she had – there was always someone in her house, either a college kid or neighbor – or me.

We haven’t seen each other in years but we are friends on Facebook and just renewing that connection brought back sweet memories of her love of Jesus and her love of me. And it reminded me of all my 25 year old self wanted to be when I was in her Bible study. Her example has served me well, and she probably doesn’t have a clue. Of course, those kinds of people rarely realize they’re impacting as many people as they are.

So a little early happy birthday to Denise! Thanks for countless hours you invested in the crazy, immature new mom that I was. Just thought you’d like to know all those times I plopped down on your sofa are remembered, and remembered fondly. I'd like to think you’d be proud of the woman I’m trying to be.

And Kristi, happy birthday to you, wherever you are!

Oh, what the heck: happy birthday to you too, Mr. Lincoln.