Day 9 comes from my best friend, Lisa! Lisa was one of my companions as a missionary – my third in the field. I was her first. For the first six weeks, Lisa hardly talked. I remember thinking that A) She was the very best person I’d ever met, and B) I wished she wasn’t so nervous so that other people could be blessed by who she is. I remember pretending to use the bathroom every time we went somewhere because that was the only time as missionaries we were apart from our companions — that way she had to do the small-talking without me there. :/ She was discouraged and scared a lot of those first six weeks. But then love did something. Lisa loved the people we met so much that she started to forget about herself – her own insecurities and nervousness. She loved them and wanted to help them even more than she worried about herself or her perceived inadequacies. She then became the most incredibly powerful force for good – capable of reaching everyone with her light. There wasn’t a person on the street she wouldn’t stop to talk to or smile at. Lisa has an incredibly pure heart, the most hilarious sense of humor, fantastic optimism, honesty, and pure intent. Absolute heart of gold. And loving others gave her the courage to unleash that, forget herself, and therefore find herself. I CANNOT PUT INTO WORDS how much her love for others grew and changed her. But it was hands down one of the coolest experiences of my life to be a bystander to that blossoming. (I know blossoming is an awkward word. But you like it deep down, and so do I. So deal with it.)
Here is a picture of us in stocking-caps from the ghetto gas station that you can also deal with, while you’re at it.
She was and is a true friend to me, and as weird as it may sound – watching her adjust to a mission, I felt real maternal love. Pure love. I think we call that charity, but you know. I felt like a mama! Her pains were my pains, her struggles my struggles, and most importantly, her joys and successes felt like mine, too. However, I never felt like I was above her or the leader in any real way. Always, she was my example. Her transformation through selfless love taught me more than she’ll ever know, and although I was supposed to “train” her to be a missionary, every day, she trained me. As someone who got to share life with her, including an apartment, 24-7 for three months, I particularly love her words on the special bond that is roommate love.
“This week, I’ve had some time and reason to ponder on platonic love—particularly the love between my roommates. To make a Harry Potter reference, “there are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them” (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 1997). Not to say that we’ve faced fictional creatures of terror together, but we’ve spent over four months together facing adult, college-student life together. This is including but not limited to responsibilities, boys, breakups, breakdowns, homework, house cleaning and house parties. If that isn’t the real life equivalent of a twelve-foot troll, I don’t know what is. We’ve prayed together, laughed together, snuggled and napped together, shared food and funny stories, and we’ve seen each other through every mood in the spectrum.
And this weekend, when one of my roommates walked into our apartment several hours later than expected, after having gone through a serious, life threatening accident and immerged unscathed, we held back tears together as we clung to each other. We knelt together and thanked God for her safety. And I realized just how dear each of these women has become to me, how devastated I would be to lose any of them. God puts people in our lives for a reason, and the ladies of apartment 113, my friends, have made my life better by their being in it, and that seems reason enough for me.”