To Laur Lou, With Love

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I will never forget that day in the Union Middle School courtyard.  I had missed the bus and I was all alone.  I remember how alone I felt, too.  I had left the group of friends I had started to associate with once leaving the innocence of primary school.  I had been trying to fit in with the cool crowd for two years at the sacrifice of some of my principles.  Finally, at the end of my 8th Grade year I had decided that I needed to be true to my heart even if it meant I had no friends.  And I really had no friends after that.  For a while.  Until the day in the courtyard.  I specifically remember Lauren walking down the concrete steps towards me.  We knew each other.  We had gone to elementary school together and were in the same home stake.  But it wasn’t until that day that we spoke, really.  She was at the school after hours, too, for some reason, and must have noticed me lying on the bench by myself.  She came to me and asked me how I was getting home and if I needed a ride from her mom.  The first of countless acts of service she rendered to me.  We began to talk, and I remember thinking that she was so kind.  And so funny!  She lifted my heart and my spirits that day.
Over the course of the next few weeks she invited me to everything.  She reached out to me in a way no one ever had, and I felt like my friendship was valuable.  We bonded quickly, like rare friends do, and I had a home again.  Her friends welcomed me into their group and I felt like I belonged somewhere.  Lauren saved me that day in the courtyard.
 
Lauren has been my truest friend over the past 13 years.  She has helped me more than I could ever explain.  Through low self-esteem, breakups, family tragedies, emotional roller coasters, Lauren has been my constant.  She always knows what to say and never hesitates to build others up when they are feeling most vulnerable.  Her support has carried me through my darkest moments, whether it be driving by an ex-boyfriend’s house in the middle of the night honking, letting me borrow some of her untouchably delicious wardrobe so that I look smashing for a performance I felt too ugly to do, convincing me that I should start a bridal pampering service even though I didn’t think I had it in me, or just holding me as I weep over a personal loss that I feel can never heal.  She is the personification of true friendship.
 
Lauren was so elated for me when I started dating John.  She and her husband were living in California at the time so she didn’t meet him for a bit, but I would tell her about him on the phone and she would squeal with delight for me, and just gush with me.  Lauren would call me for updates all the time and would always want to talk about my blossoming love.  She eventually met John (and TOTALLY approved) when she took a trip to Utah and ended up staying for a while.  I got engaged, and Lauren was right there with me every step of the way.  She came to my bridals with me, she lent me bridal jewelry, she absolutely fawned over my ring like a good friend should, and she made the entire engagement about me and my special day.
 
It wasn’t until I had been home from my honeymoon for about two weeks that she told me.  She and her husband were separated and were getting a divorce.  She had been living with her parents again for the past few months, not just “vacationing” like I thought.  Her husband’s job was very time consuming and I guess I had concluded that he just couldn’t take the time off to be with Lauren for at least part of her “trip,” and that maybe it was a longer trip because something was happening in her family.  Lauren never gave me any reason to think anything was going on with her marriage.  Even through all the sappy conversations she had with me about how much I love John and how excited I was to get married and how lucky I am to have the greatest guy in the world, she never once held back even an ounce of her genuine excitement for me in my situation in spite of her situation.  She cherished those conversations with me.  She explained that she didn’t want to steel my thunder by dumping this sort of news on me in the middle of all my merriment.  She wanted me to shine in the light.
 
Thinking back I know it must have been excruciating for Lauren to go through my engagement with me, all things considered.  Any other friend would have told me what Lauren didn’t, and I would not have expected anything else.  Lauren knew she could tell me, but she consciously chose to wait until it wouldn’t hinder my engagement, even though it was unendurable at times, I’m sure.  I am in awe of her selflessness.  Her compassion.  Her intuitiveness.  Her heart.
 
Throughout the divorce Lauren never ceased to amaze me with her strength.  No one ever expects to get divorced.  That day in the courtyard, we never would have known.  But Lauren remained refined and gracious throughout it all.  She never lost her faith, not in God, not in herself, not even in her husband, really.  And I know that Lauren displayed just as much compassion and selflessness and love in her marriage as she has shown me throughout my life.  But that can only help a marriage so much when it isn’t reciprocated.  Lauren had been unappreciated for over four years, and still consciously invested in her marriage with love and hope and trust.  Until finally he decided to free her.
 
And she soars.  Her strength astounds me.  She has been so emotionally healthy about it all, having the perfect balance of optimism and humor with all the pain.  I admire her inner being with all that is in me, and I am so grateful for the example she has been to me of enduring well.
 
Lauren, you are a true friend.  You have made my life better in so many ways, and I know that you know I love you.  Thank you for giving part of your heart space to me.
 
{Shared with permission}

4 comments

  1. CKE says:

    Aww this made me tear up a little! I only knew Lauren (and YOU) for a few months but I COMPLETELY agree with how selfless and amazing she is! She let me live with her for like 2 weeks after my dad moved and I didn’t have anywhere to go! I’m so glad you and Lauren have had each other and have that special bond. And I’m so glad that I had the priviledge to meet and hang out with you girls- even though it was only for a few months! Love ya! 🙂

  2. Brittney says:

    Wow – I can honestly say that I know at least part of what she went through, too, and I think she went through it much better than I did. That is awesome – she is truly amazing!

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