I've never been terribly great at friendship. Growing up, I was awkward and shy. As an adult, I've always managed to repeatedly screw friendships up in one way shape or form. But since about 2005-ish, I have had one of the best friends a girl could ever hope to have. She has been my friend through heartache, fear, joy and answered prayers. She has been my friend, remarkable so, as I've grown and matured and changed drastically, most especially in how I relate to my faith and view the political world with a passionate and emphatic heart. When my real life childhood friends were unable to handle who I had grown into, Courtney was still there. Always.
And what's funny is...we've never truly met in person. We have always been akin to window friends, like Anne and her reflection before finding her home at Green Gables. Courtney is like a reflection. She is so much like myself, and so very different. When my heart is hurting, she can listen and understand. When she hurts, I can listen and understand. There is simply another heart that can relate and hold onto.
What a strange little world God has given us---weaving us together like broken pieces of pottery that have been scattered all of the world. Separate, we are not whole. But when we come together, if not even in actual flesh, we find parts of ourselves that make us strong and useful--we find something more beautiful than before.
Why am I telling you about my window friend? Because it was a long hard week...and this morning, I opened the front door and there was a box on the front porch. Courtney had told me a package was coming and apparently had to drive nearly an hour to the nearest post office to have it shipped. The dedication in this girl! When I opened it, there was a post-it that told me to open a box inside first, and then another on the box that cheerfully read: Open Me First!
Friends, I could have cried if there wasn't a toddler rushing around without underpants and a husband erratically looking for his car keys to head off to work. But even as the house was in utter chaos, I stood there and carefully read her card, opened the little box, gasped (for real), blinked away hot tears, and peeled back all the tissue paper.
Courtney somehow knew exactly what would mend this battle-weary heart...
She sent me two books full of stunning doily patterns that I cannot wait to try out!
Two of her favorite skeins of sari strips that she said she thought would make wonderful dream catchers. She is right! And there is no way I will be selling them! This sari yarn also sends a nod to the feminist, humanitarian, social activist in me.
Some of the prettiest and brightest thread for doilies that Courtney says are colors you can't find in the store. I believe her, because I've not been able to find vibrant colors in my local store. She also doodled the card that winks endlessly of our shared love of Anne of Green Gables. It is funny because, earlier in the week, I had mentioned to her that it felt like the perfect time to watch Anne (I've still not found the time, sadly). She had already sent the card and package when I told her that. See. Weird, strange, beautiful little world.
And here's the beautiful thing that wrecked my heart. It's the handmade hooks by Hen Pecked Hooks. But it wasn't simply the amazing hooks, but the manzanita branch from which Courtney asked her friend from Hen Pecked Hooks to carve a display from. Courtney shared with me a memory she cherishes from her childhood about the manzanita and why it was so special to her. It's rare, and it was a beautiful surprise when her friend said she had some to work with. The coolest part is, her friend surprised Courtney with the other half of the branch to display her own matching hooks. We both have part of a branch from a rare tree from Arizona (where Courtney is from). Though they come from the same branch, they look different and are not the same. Now, Courtney and I have something in each of our homes that quite literally belong together--mirrors of one another.
Courtney is my friend. I have no idea if we shall ever meet this side of heaven, but we once spoke about how we would have tea at my Cragfont (which apparently will be mine in heaven--ghost free) and we would watch all our children (both the ones from this side of heaven and those that are already there and waiting) frolic in the green grass.
I don't do well with friendship, but I thank The Lord that He has given me Courtney in whom to cherish and learn with. She is irreplaceable in my life and I cannot wait to finally finish her own package and send it in the mail. Mine will not be as amazing as hers, but that's because she is an amazing gift giver, where I get anxiety just trying to figure which gifts are best.
Thank you for sticking with me, Courtney. You are the original "dear heart."
PS: London keeps walking around pointing at the things that came in the mail and saying, "Beautiful friend! Beautiful friend!" And I could not be more pleased.