Tuesday, December 1, 2009

She Has Chosen Gratitude: Jamie

If I have a tombstone, I want it to say that. More than that, I suppose, I want it to be the truth. "She has chosen gratitude." (But, let's be real here, I want to be cremated.)

I have a lot to complain about. I do it a lot and it doesn't help. It shrinks my world down and makes it small and puts me smack dab in the middle of it. That world is boring and dramatic and makes me eat all the peppermint Oreos.

In an effort to conjure perspective, I tried to arrest my hatred and replace it with gratitude which is the mother of all beautiful virtues. And the things that make me feel most thankful happen to be specific individuals that have taken up permanent residence in my life, like a huge piece of furniture. So, I need a place to dwell and that's why God created blogs.

Today, let me tell you about Jamie. I choose Jamie because I was thinking about where I was a year ago and how present she was with me and it made me miss/ feel supremely loved by her (also, Jamie is the only person that I know for sure reads my blog).

I don't remember when Jamie and I officially met. I just remember being very confused by her. I was a Sophomore. She was a--I'm still not really sure. I knew she was ahead of me and I knew that they had her stationed in the Freshman dorms. This did not make any sense and she petitioned hard to get moved to live with the older girls. Eventually this happened, but thankfully not before we became minor acquaintances. It took some time but eventually we each became one another's safe-haven. She used to spend the night in my room (I, shockingly, rarely ever had a roommate) when her roommate became too much to bear. I used to go to her when I needed to get away from everything. This was easy because, oddly enough, Jamie and I ran in very different circles. We didn't have a lot of overlapping friends and just walking to her dorm was a little like walking to a different planet. Jamie teaches me about finding comfort in other people.

Jamie and I have always been on the same page regarding Jesus. We both like
him. We both want to look like him. We, neither, have any clue how to do this. Together we have searched for churches and thrown ourselves in with hope. Together we have been disappointed. Separately we kept looking and once I found a church that I really loved, I saw her during greeting time. Of course. Me and Jamie--always on the same page. Jamie teaches me about never giving up.

We made dates every week to eat dinner and share music and talk about books and boys. She pretty much only talked about one boy. She was in love with the same boy for, what,
five years? He was the only boy she ever talked about, he was the only boy she ever needed. He, on the other hand, did not seem to return the sentiment. This fact, combined with the fact
that I had never seen any evidence of his existence, clearly indicated to me that he was undoubtedly imaginary. After years of hearing about this fellow, I finally met Mr. JD and he really was all she said he was. Only by now, he was completely into her and that doesn't seem to be waning any time soon. The last time I saw either of them was when they got married this June. I wrote very touching things in the guest book. Jamie teaches me about patience.

A year ago, Jamie and I had been living in a barren and exhausting landscape for about six months. She had a long bout with unemployment and had just found a job. Two jobs, to be accurate. I didn't know it yet but I was thiscloseto getting fired from my first real job. We were in South Dakota to help start a church and it didn't seem to be going anywhere either. I was out of options and had to leave her there and go back to Kansas City where I battled my own unemployment status with fists of fury. I hated leaving her there. I felt defeated. She felt defeated. We both seemed to find ourselves in corners but we wrote letters. We relied heavily on our unlimited text messaging plans. Now that she lives in beautiful, hopeful South Korea, I can't text her. It's been months and I still instinctively pull out my phone when I see the woman at Walmart who wears cowboy boots with her Capri pants. Jamie teaches me about endurance.

I have to save all my texts for the end of the day when I can sit down and email her. By then, though, I've forgotten most of the silly things that happened and instead of knowing the little bits of my life, Jamie gets a very broad overview and I get the same but I'm very happy for that much. Jamie teaches me about gratitude.

Well, that was nice. It doesn't make today suck any less but it does take some edge off. At this point I'm going to take a shower, drink half a beer (to take the rest of the edge off) and then read my book in bed until I fall asleep. And tomorrow will be a brand new day.

I hope.

I'm not a lot but you can have all of me,