I’ll start with Kayla because she came first.
I made a quick-witted joke at a Friday night football game about LIFE cereal, “He likes it! Hey Mikey!” And it hooked her like bait. She thought I was funny, which lezbehonest, at 13 everyone just thought I was insanely strange. We immediately became attached to the hip and spent countless Friday nights staying up late talking about boys and makeup and Nsync. One time we even stayed up all night to record ourselves (yes, with a tape player) reciting every.single.line to The Wizard of Oz. We watched Bring it On, Fools Rush In and one time she made me watch Center Stage. We had the same taste in music, movies, clothes… Life was good. We had each other. Nothing else could make life better than a best friend.
But then. Nick.
Somehow Kayla detached from my hip and found a cute boy to love her and be THE-MOST-WONDERFUL-FRICKEN-THING that’s ever happened to her. (No offence, Nick) I aimlessly wandered around the school trying to find someone else to fill that hole after being insanely sick of being the 3rd wheel. My heart was broken and though we still stayed friends, I didn’t know how to do life without her.
And then one day (gasp!) she said she didn’t want to go to Bible Camp with me. Of course that was grounds for completely terminating our relationship. Friends ON, friends OFF, friends ON, friends OFF. You know, that typical way it goes in Girl World. During this time I decided to fill the hole with no-so-wonderful people in the midst of my loneliness.
In 10th grade homeroom, I invited the “new girl” to church with me once I found out she was a Lutheran (yay!!!!!) Enter Kendra. Back up, have I mentioned that Kendra is Nick’s little sister? This is where it gets all kinds of Stearns County confusing. So now I’m best friends with Nick’s little sister who happens to be dating my ex-best friend and now we’re all hanging out in the Basement at 140 10th Street. Following so far?
Then Kendra became my other half- the purple to my pink. Unlike Kayla and myself, Kendra couldn’t be more different than I was. She loved to read and had an antiquey, eclectic sense of style. She liked to eat Spaghettios for breakfast. She was spoiled. And she wasn’t boy crazy. But somehow, we found love through Target, Schlotzky’s Deli and church. And again, life was amazing. We stayed up late singing and reading novels out loud, taking turns each chapter.
For a little while the three of us even ALL LIKED EACH OTHER at the SAME TIME! Kayla and I ended up moving in together, living our life-long dream of spending every.single.second together at school, work and home. I don’t know why we thought this was a good idea. Because it wasn’t. It was a terrible idea that led to a fast downward spiral of anger, jealousy and hatred.
Fast forward through a bunch of absolutely terrible, horrible things.
This is the story I tell my CLUB kids often. I tell them about some mistakes I’ve made- about how my heart turned completely black. I made choices that hurt people. We said terrible things to one another in spite and anger. How I gave up something that was so precious to me so quickly.
But here comes the good part.
As a visual, I take something plastic- usually one of those big storage containers and flip it upside down. I take a big, black permanent marker and draw all over it. I draw things that represented Kayla and myself, a heart, movies and Kendra. Then I darken all of it until those beautiful things can’t be seen. Just one big, black circle.
As time went on, Kendra and I remained beautifully close while my heart, still trapped in thick bitterness and fury, couldn’t let Kayla back in no matter how many times she reached out to me. But God had wonderful things in store that none of us could have imagined. As Lucy was brewing in my uterus, my heart (very slowly) began to soften. Eventually the chains were broken. Love poured in like sunshine and I could finally breathe again.
This is when I take a wet washcloth and explain to the kids that as my heart began to open, I let Kayla in slowly, but surely. As I try to wipe off the marker off the plastic, nothing happens. I want the black to come off- just like I desperately wanted all of the yuckiness to go away. But it didn’t, even though I tried so hard. Now I’ll take a soapy washcloth and try to scrub. I want this to work! I want the rage to go away! I want to be wiped clean of the horrible things I’ve done and said, the pain that I’ve caused and the time that was so harshly ripped away. But nothing. Not even the soapy washcloth can wipe away the black of this mess we’ve caused.
Kendra [finally] got engaged and Kayla and I found ourselves often chatting about bridal showers and bachelorette parties. It was then that I realized God was giving us a gift of second chances. Now that I had Lucy I was disgusted at how I behaved and couldn’t imagine watching her go through so much pain. I let it all go. I let it all go to God.
Now I take a Magic Eraser. I start to scrub and piece by piece begins to fade until the black is wiped clean. I note that it was hard to scrub it off- I really have to put some muscle in to wipe it clean. It wasn’t easy, but God wiped it clean. There was nothing that I could do by myself- I wouldn’t ever be able to make those washcloths wipe away what God scrubbed clean in minutes. Only God can heal those wounds and fix broken hearts like that. You simply just have to ask.
I always say that Kayla is my one, true love. No matter what happened, she always came back. She always found her place back in my heart. We went through hell and back (quite a few times) and somehow came through it.
But I don’t regret a single moment. (Well, maybe a few little ones) If it wasn’t for the back and forth, I never would have found Kendra. I never would have let her have so much of my soul and make countless memories with her. I wouldn’t have found forgiveness. As a matter of fact, I probably wouldn’t have even met Devin.
It’s funny how life is, isn’t it? Just when you think the absolute worst has happened, God sees to the end of the road and finds the treasure in your lump of coal. It’s amazing how powerful forgiveness is. It’s maybe one of the most magical things I’ve ever been a part of.
So it would become God’s plan that Kayla, Kendra and I would become the three best friends that anybody could have. And we’ll never ever ever ever ever leave each other. (My mom won’t get that).
Kendra continues to be my go-to all-around amazing bff that can brighten my day with just a text. We go weeks- sometimes months- without seeing each other and when we’re reunited it feels like only a day has passed. She is the most-cool person that ever was. She never (and never has!) cares what anyone thinks. She’s a do-gooder. She’ll march to a different beat of the drum and cheer for the underdog. She showed me how to love God in a completely different way than I’d ever experienced. She’s flawlessly patient. She has so many wonderful talents and skills. She’s SMART and beautiful and kind. A total package in my book. Someone who has seen me at my ugliest and loved me through it all.
Kayla is a no-doubt bff that I love more every time I see her. She’s my “OMG did you see that episode?” best friend. We love everything the same. A most precious mom-friend who I can talk to about poop and preschool and the enormity of parent-love. We can sit for hours and talk and talk and talk and talk and never be done. She’s a phenomenal mother. An incredible friend. She’s preciously sensitive and naive. She’s absolutely hilarious even when she’s not trying. And she has, after everything we’ve been through, the most forgiving soul.
AND SOMEHOW when all three of us are together, MAGIC happens. It’s the most wonderful, happiest kind of love filled with adventure and amazingly fabulous crazy… more.good.words I can’t think of.
I never could have imagined how this could have ended- I get TWO best besties. Two people who are so insanely important to me that I couldn’t live without either of them. They are two of the biggest pieces of my heart.
It’s hard to describe love in this circumstance. I hope you’re feelin it.