An Open Letter to my Best Friend 2,401 Miles Away

An Open Letter to my Best Friend 2,401 Miles Away

To the girl who keeps me going and inspires me with her incredible strength and wisdom.
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As the jet touched ground, I finally stopped crying. Five hours, 23 minutes, 2,401 miles and a disgruntled man who sat next to me during the flight. It had been four years since I had last seen you — four years too long. Although I am sad, I want you to know that watching your life snow ball into a direction that I hope will happen to me one day was admirable and brought me so much joy. You have found love in someone who is gentle, kind, and a total dork (he’s perfect for you). Not only that, but you’re going to be a mom. Seeing you with your little watermelon belly and beaming face made me want to shout to the sky, “Yes! Thank you! She is happy! She deserves everything that is beautiful and good!” Yes, it will be challenging, but I know no one who would be more qualified for the job than you. Watching you have the strength to be ready to conquer motherhood and having courage after everything you have been through, like that one guy who cheated on you like it was nobody’s business and all those “friends” you made after I left and how they treated you so poorly. You have persevered through it all and you are stronger because of it.

Sometimes I feel like the word “best friend” doesn’t cover it. What do you call someone who has been there for you through everything? From 7th grade and every weird scene/emo phase to that one weird hippie/vegan phase you were there to support despite the strangeness of it all. All those times I sat in my room crying because I was certain I was a wretched, ugly thing, you were there to tell me just how untrue that was, no matter how many times I didn't believe you. In fact, you were quite persistent that I was a, “Goddess who deserved the best in this world.” I’m not sure if I can agree, but it always made me laugh. Or how about all the times I sobbed into my pillow because no boy could ever love me, and you were there to tell me how ridiculous I was. And when there was a boy who did love me, but left and in his haste left me broken and confused, you were the first to call me and listened as I screamed and sobbed intelligible things into the phone. That night you may not have been there in person, but you calmed me down and actually made me laugh. Perhaps you are just the other half to my soul, because you always seem to know what to say and how to pull me from the darkest places. No, “best friend” just doesn’t cover it. Not even sister. You are much more than that and I’ll let you know when they finally invent a word that does you justice. The influence you have left on my life has shaped me into the strong woman that I've become.

Seeing you was a dream come true because it was like traveling back in time. From the shenanigans in Target to the late-night talks about our dreams and frustrations-I was thirteen again. All of the inside jokes came flooding back and we laughed until my stomach hurt and my cheeks were sore. As I sat there on your bed looking at the pictures of us on your wall, I longed to be back to the days that we were in middle school and our only worries were whether the boys we had crushes on liked us back and what was the latest horror movie that we had to see. I know that you know that I haven’t been in the greatest place. My heart is still healing from the worst heart break I’ve ever been through, college is hard and it scares me because I question if I am even capable of it at all, and I have no idea which direction my life is headed. But seeing you, reminded me that life happens to you, you don’t happen to it. You reminded me that I am a bad ass, with "all the strengths" as Leslie Knope would say. I am so thankful to you for that reminder.

I'm home now, and 2,401 miles away from you again. The difference is that I am now ready to conquer whatever life throws at me, because you have shown me who I am and can be. Not seeing you is hard. I am grateful that we have phones so we can text and call if we need to, but sometimes life gets in the way and we go weeks without talking. I know it's okay though, because we both know that no matter how long we go without talking, we will pick up right where we left off.

I love you, and will always love you. Here’s to many more years of shenanigans in Target, late-night talks with a side of Hot Cheetos, and a friendship that only lucky people ever get to have.

Cover Image Credit: Lisa Comp

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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Outgrowing Friendships Is A Necessary Part Of Life

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Why do friendships naturally begin to gravitate away from each other? Why is there an emptiness within the bond that used to be filled with excessive passion? Why does effort suddenly disappear? Why do we lose the pieces that once kept us together?

It is a great challenge for me to look at people who were once the reasons behind my heart being so consumed in love, without tears filling my eyes to the point of exhaustion simply thinking of the friendship we used to possess. There are many moments I cannot understand why, when, and how we ended up going in different directions without the guidance we once craved and needed from each other. It seems impossible to release the specialness we shared. I cannot fathom the fact that we have been walking in parallel routes without even a glimpse of each other. I wonder if there's anything I could have improved upon to save us. Or were we not meant to be rescued?

Appreciate that you are engaging in internal growth, even if it is at the cost of separation from those you love deeply.

The timelines of our lives do not always match with those around us. Sometimes as we fall into the pits of despair, our friends find inescapable love. Sometimes as our friends grieve burdensome pains, we begin to visualize ourselves in a new light. As our pathways begin to part due to our progressions and setbacks occurring at diverse times, we fail to acknowledge the extents of our personal developments because we are too invested in analyzing a friendship that was not meant to last. When we lose such friendships we take our strengths for granted. We fail to think of the person we have become throughout the course of these attachments.

You have changed in beautiful ways and you should shy away from seeking to be the person you used to be for the sake of holding onto old friendships. You are experiencing a difference within yourself, and not everyone will understand such a difference, nor will their own differences connect with yours like they once have.

Do not overthink distanced friendships or it will lead you to endless self-doubt and unneeded frustration.

We drive ourselves insane by shifting such blame upon ourselves when we are left on an empty road full of questions. What could I have done to create such a disconnect within this friendship? Did I say something so exceedingly wrong to cause this hurtful shift? Did I bother this person with an unintentional act of thoughtlessness? Could I have been a greater friend? When we question, we doubt ourselves in ways we do not deserve. Recognition is needed to conquer the unsettling thought that there is not always a causation behind a drifting of individuals. Push yourself to stop searching for something that does not exist. You will find yourself on a path of creating the oddest explanations to help justify such a separation, when you should acknowledge that some questions do not have answers.

As you contemplate if the connection still remains, acknowledge that the underlying meaning of this contemplation means that the bond has disappeared. As life changes, people change, and as people change, their most valued friendships come to a close due to the similarities fading. Although this is a saddening concept to grasp, it is one that everyone should be prepared to experience. Sometimes there is no reason behind a dying connection aside from the interruptions life brings. We wrongly search for an exact understanding of why specific friendships do not feel as exciting or as effort-filled as they once were. But rather, we must seek to appreciate a friendship for all that it has consisted of, and learn to be OK with the fact that some relationships are not designed to be repaired when all that is left to discuss is the past versions of ourselves.

Some bonds are meant to be broken in order to find ourselves.

This brokenness is the price we pay for pursuing our journeys truthfully. When we come closer to a peace of mind and firm comprehension of who we are destined to be, we lose people who once meant the world to us because our visions, purposes, and values do not correlate. BE WILLING TO LET GO OF FRIENDSHIPS THAT ARE PREVENTING YOU FROM FINDING YOUR TRUE SELF, EVEN IF THE LOVE AND CARE IS STILL VERY PRESENT. DO NOT ALLOW DISTRACTIONS FROM ALL THAT LIES AHEAD OF YOU. JUST AS THERE IS BEAUTY AND LOVE IN HOLDING ON, THERE IS JUST AS MUCH BEAUTY AND LOVE IN LETTING GO. DO NOT FEAR AN UNCOMFORTABLE FUTURE WITHOUT PEOPLE BY YOUR SIDE WHO YOU FEEL YOU NEED, FEAR ONE THAT WITHHOLDS YOU FROM GROWING! Sometimes we must let go of others in order to hold onto ourselves.



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