: a sweet friend
My dear friend Mikkee will be celebrating her birthday tomorrow - and a new phase of her life. Next week, she's starting a new job in Washington, DC. I've known Mikkee for years, but our friendship has grown over the last year or two and while I'm happy and excited for her to start a new job in a new city, I will miss her.
So here's my celebration of who Mikkee is and what I've learned from our friendship:
Mikkee is a reader. In fact, she starts every year by re-reading two of her favorite series of books: Anne of Green Gables and Harry Potter. As you surely know by now, I am a reader as well. But it's rare that I re-read books. At Mikkee's suggestion, I re-read Anne of Green Gables this year and felt like I was seeing an old friend who hadn't changed at all over the years. Mikkee is not afraid to devote precious reading time to a well-loved series and her decision to re-read these books helps them take root in her heart. And if you're going to choose books to seed your heart with, Anne and Harry are great choices. They remind us that life is meant to be lived wholeheartedly and that friends help us, strengthen us and show us who we are.
Mikkee is single. I've valued my friendship with Mikkee for many reasons - we have a lot in common! But I love that our friendship has transcended our life stages. I love that I can talk with her about my children and she can share her current work project. It's natural for moms to develop friendships with other moms, but I have greatly valued a friendship that allowed me to be Shannon first and a mom second.
Mikkee is an introvert. (I said we have a lot in common.) Mikkee has helped me acknowledge and manage my needs as an introvert and has encouraged me to meet these needs without shame. She's also helped me see how a job that requires so much of her heart, soul and energy is exhausting, but fulfilling. And her example is food for thought as I think about what my future will look like.
Mikkee is a strong woman who uses her God-given gifts. She uses her organizational skills, her sweet spirit and her knowledge to do her job not just well, but with excellence. She knows her strengths and is not afraid to speak her mind, especially when speaking on behalf of others. Mikkee also affirms others in their gifts. A while back, she sent my daughter B a letter that affirmed B's one-of-a-kind style. I love that B's creativity emerges in every part of her life and it was great encouragement for her to have another adult validate this.
Mikkee has a sensitive heart. Mikkee hears and feels the needs of others and instead of letting that cripple or overwhelm her, she uses that sensitivity to labor and advocate for others. I think it would be easy for someone with a heart as tender as Mikkee's to be too soft to do her job well. Instead, that soft heart channels her gifts beautifully and shows me the example of how to use all of our gifts in harmony, instead of letting one gift override other, equally important, gifts.
Mikkee is wounded but healing. Both Mikkee and I have wounds from our childhood that have shaped the way we see ourselves as women. Her strength and honesty in facing these wounds head-on has helped me understand my own feelings and has removed a layer of shame that has always surrounded this part of my heart. I'll desperately miss being able to talk through these things with a friend who understands and doesn't wallow with me in the pain, but gives honest encouragement about how to move forward.
Mikkee is growing. I've watched Mikkee grow as a woman and a writer in the time that I've known her. And I have full confidence that this next stage of her life will see her continue to grow into who she is meant to be.
Mikkee, may 2010 bring abundant blessings, new friendships, success in work and time for you! I'll miss you!