Friday, June 3, 2016

The Friend Who Became Something More ...

Three years ago, my friend Rachel dragged me to a mid-singles fireside. Rather, she dragged me to an entire weekend of classes, dancing, and uplifting activities geared toward helping single people find each other (read "get married.") I went under extreme duress. Rachel had helped plan the conference, and I was trying to be a good friend and support her. I almost ditched out of the fireside Sunday night. After all, I'd gone to everything else for three days. That had to qualify as doing my part, right? In spite of my protests, Rachel wasn't buying into it. In fact, she decided to make certain I'd be there by recruiting me to sing in the choir. (*sigh! ... *)

However, as I was standing near the door in the room where the choir was rehearsing, joking (read flirting) with a friend, and wishing I was anywhere but there, I happened to glance up and see a familiar face. There are very few people in this world that I would have shouted out to in a crowd and a church. It just so happens that this man was on that short list, and, before I realized what I was doing, and who he was with, I shouted his name across the hall. Somehow, he managed to spot my vertically-challenged self through the crowd, down that same hall, and across the room. He waved cheerfully before the crowd carried him (and his adorable date) down the opposite hall. As I mentally berated myself for the rest of practice and tried to avoid eye contact throughout the fireside, I planned how to sneak out the door without further embarrassing myself. (The fact that the friends we were sitting with happened to sit just in front of my old friend and his date was icing on the cake of my awkward outburst.) While I was plotting my escape and regretting my momentary lapse of judgment, it soon appeared that Matt felt no such compunction.

As the fireside ended, Matt took the time to chat for a few minutes. It really was good to see him. We've been friends since I was in high school, though we didn't see one another often. After a few moments of chatting, we went our separate ways, and I went back to avoiding him. Later though, we ended up talking with a mutual friend at the same time, or rather, she listened to us exchange snarky comments (think Benedick and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing ... tempered a smidgen with our genuine friendship and cheer at seeing one another again.) Until that night, I didn't think people's heads actually swiveled in an attempt to follow a conversation. I was wrong. Her reaction, as much as the fun of my conversation with Matt, made me smile for the rest of the evening. As we ended our conversation, Matt mentioned that we should get together. It seemed like a good idea. That being said, I figured it would be exactly what it always was -- a date three weeks later where we chatted and laughed and lost touch again until the next time we ran into one another.

That night, however, I had a difficult time falling asleep. I kept replaying the evening and thinking how blessed I'd been over the years to have a friend so fun as Matt. I've had several amazing friends over the years, but what Matt and I had was unique in its own way. While I was thinking about the impact he's had on my life, a poem began writing itself in my head. This is that poem.

My Friend

My friend,
you, who knows me better than
anyone else
does,
not because we speak often ...

Perhaps, it's because
we laugh well
and thoroughly

You are not
the love of my life
or the day my heart stopped
searching.

No, you are
sunlight
and safety.

You know me
and I know you; and it's
happy and
stable in it's instability.

There is no awkward lull,
no worries about
whether our friendship has been
and still is.
It just is.

In a way,
you are my missing piece.

When you're gone
or
when I'm not around,
I feel your absence
like an ache,
a burden ...
that's not really a burden,

Just a missing piece.

You are a sort of
phantom limb.
Though you're not there,
I feel
an aching
awareness.

Echoes of laughter --
both nonsense and wisdom --
remind me that
Over the years, I've had such a friend.

You draw out a part of me,
A piece of my soul that is
free
and witty
and full of life.

In your presence,
I sparkle, and that sparkle
lingers.

Long after we've parted,
that sparkle
dances in my soul.
It lights my heart,
but ...

it lights the whole room too.

People dance in that sparkle
and wonder at its light.
They remark on what it does,
and they're drawn to it.

They don't know
and they can't see
that really,

it's just a reflection of you,
your own way of dancing
through life,
the way things shimmer with
laughter as they are touched

by your humor.

When life
boxes up that carefree piece of my soul,

Those are the times
you, somehow,
reappear, reminding me
of who I am and
how I shine.

Without knowing it,
you give me --

me.

And it's enough.
Enough to last,
enough to be,
enough for a friend.

You, my friend, are a piece of eternity
God has woven into my
soul.

-- Jaymie Reynolds (May 5th, 2013)

Matt is still sunlight and safety, but he has grown into the love of my life as well -- both this life and the life to come. He became the day my heart stopped searching. Life had lessons we both needed to learn, and until three years ago, the timing wasn't right for us. Even then, it took time for us to grow into this relationship. Two months ago, Matt and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple. It was a perfect start to the rest of our lives and something I hardly expected when I sat down to write that poem late one very trying and beautiful night.








This man has blessed our lives in so many ways. He was the missing piece of our family, and his presence has made our family feel whole. He is a man I respect deeply and who has earned the right to be the patriarch of our home. He treats the girls and me with deep respect, and he honors his priesthood. I'm grateful that God knows the end from the beginning, that He opens doors in the right ways and at the right times. I'm grateful that a loving Heavenly Father gives us opportunities to grow and asks us to hang on in faith as He unfolds miracles in our lives. I'm so thankful for the miracles He's blessed us with. Life hasn't turned out to be what I expected. In its own way, it has turned out much better.