Fervent Shake of the Hair

In my life I have had a lot of unlikely friendships. I think it’s because I grew up in a small church, and I was homeschooled before going to small private schools and then to a small private university. I was always tossed into a mix of kids who wouldn’t normally be my friends if any of us had any other options at all. But because of how things were, these unlikely people and I ended up not only being friends but pretty good friends. And I think our differences have made us stronger. Recognizing this has trained me to keep my mind open about the people I meet. You never know. You just never do.

But still in my world of unlikely friendships, I find myself surprised from time to time, especially when it comes to one friend I spend an awful lot of time with these days. If you had told me even 5 years ago that she and I would hang out on the weekends, I would have laughed at you. But weird things happen every day. Sometimes the good guy friends you have marry terrible women and disappear forever into the terrible sorts of worlds created by terrible women, but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they marry women who given the time and grace and patience and love can turn out to be pretty fantastic women. That’s the case with this one.

I forget how young she is anymore, but only a few years ago it was so terribly obvious that she was much, much younger than most of us. She didn’t know how to handle her emotions, and she would get so worked up by the little things he would do or say. And to be fair, he’s always been very good at taunting and poking fun. He knows exactly what to do to get a reaction. But I’ll save my stories about him for when I write about him. The point is, she would react and fall apart. And they would fight. And it would be messy. And occasionally she would call me crying or even show up at my door in tears. You all know how well I do with people crying around me. I was terrified, of course, by the tears. But it was good for me.

Everything about knowing this girl has been good for me. But one of the most important things I’ve realized is that I have had the opportunity to watch a couple struggle through the early years of marriage and not lose. I’ve watched them turn something that was weak and fragile into something that is strong and powerful, and I have watched them both grow up very, very quickly in the process. They didn’t run away or shut down like so many other people I know. I’ve watched a lot of people walk away from their vows or be left behind. These sorts of things don’t just magically happen, of course; you are either working toward something or you’re working against it. You’re either proactive or you’re not. I know not being proactive doesn’t sound particularly destructive, but we all know what happens to the flowers when you stop watering them.

There was a time when I thought they might claw each other’s eyes out. There was a time not that long ago where she was immature and childish and he was inattentive and provoking; but now she is one of the most mature women I know, getting wiser by the day, and he has become a wise and respectable man. They have made each other better people, and they are making each other better people every day, and it’s the coolest thing to watch. It’s sort of hopeful, you know? The world needs that. I need that.

Beka Johnson
Beka Johnson

Beka is the Director of Inbound Marketing for a fintech company in the Seattle area. She loves dabbling, reading, scheming, writing, and dreaming up ways to make good things better. When she’s not working, you can find her digging up all sorts of adventures in her new city.

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