Bree and I have been besties since we were about seven years old. For nearly our entire childhoods we were the only two girls in a class that ranged in size from five-ten children. Talk about a bonding experience. Those boys were totally 'loco.'
But in all seriousness, this girl has been one of the most important people in my life and had been crazy influential on me and who I am today. Since I moved five and a half years ago, Bree and I have spent more time apart than together, but one of the best parts about best friends is that no matter how long you've been apart, you connect like you've never been away, and that's exactly how BreeAnna and I are.
|Summer 2012, on our fabulous Orlando trip|
Even though she is thousands of miles away, she still inspires and teaches me how to be more dedicated, how to be more teachable, how to show more kindness to others, and to be an all around more Christlike person.
|Being together is a smile fest.|
Since her one year anniversary hit, I decided to highlight this terrific gal, but truth is that I've been incredibly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life that have influenced me for the better.
In the "For Strength of Youth" pamphlet, which details gospel guidelines for our church, especially for those in their teenage years, there is a section on friends. It says that "everyone needs good and true friends. They will be a great strength and blessing to you. They will influence how you think and act, and even determine the person that you will become."
How true that is.
As a card carrying introvert, I've spent a lot of my life feeling like I don't need that many friends. It's not that I didn't like people (most of the time), it's just that I have a hard time getting to know people, and since I like conversations that are on a deeper level, I dread small talk. It's pretty much the worst.
But in the past few years, through attending college and the singles ward, I've become more comfortable with talking to a wider range of people. And I've learned something.
There are a lot of really awesome people out there.
In my teenage years, I pretty much thought that all the people I knew were all the people that I would like and could learn from, some a lot, and some a little, but I didn't need to meet lots of people, LDS or otherwise, in order for me to be happy or become a better person.
How very wrong I was.
While I will always love my long-time and life-time friends, I can't say how much my "more recent" friends mean to me. Some of them have taught me how to better talk with people one on one, to make people feel important and loved on an individual level, or, on the flip side, have taught me how to better interact with a large group, something I am terrible at. Other friends have shown me what a bright smile and sincere interest can do to improve a persons day. Through different perspectives, beliefs and opinions, my view of the world has grown and my mind has become more open to other ideas. While many people would still call my point of view as very closed and limited, because people I love have such varied viewpoints, I have learned to love different views, even if I they don't match mine.
On my mission, this is only going to grow. I was once told that the three best ways to get closer to a person is to:
- Eat together.
- Laugh together.
- Feel the Spirit together.
I will be doing a lot of each of these, especially the last one.
It sounds cliche, but people are placed in your life for a reason. Throughout my life I've met people that have helped me who I need to become to be able to be the best person, and, soon to be, missionary I can be. And once I get out there, I will meet members, investigators, and companions that will help me change for the better, and for good.
And it's going to be awesome.
Only 80 days left!!