The Blessing of Friendship

Good-byes are sometimes harder than you think they’ll be.  But a simple “Hello” is not as challenging as it appears.

On Wednesday, my parents, brother, and sister all saw me off to my next chapter in life: Calvin College.  I didn’t cry – at first.  But walking away from the only life I’d ever known… it was a lot tougher than I thought it’d be.  I made it about six feet before turning around and running back into my Daddy’s arms again.  The moment was priceless.

My mind raced.  I kept thinking that “I don’t have to do this, I can go home.”

But I stayed.  And I’m glad I did.

I expected my orientation group – Number 39 – to be awkward.  My leader, Gerrit, appeared to be like any other orientation leader: full of cheesy games and unrealistic enthusiasm.  What I found was quite different.  What at first seemed forced and uncomfortable, soon became relaxed and genuine.  I learned names, hobbies, majors, and hidden talents… There was a sense of belonging, even on the first day.  Everyone participated.

We even became notorious for our obnoxious chanting:

Let’s go, thirty-nine!
We’re fine!
Let’s shine!

Group 39 on “The Cheese”

While the first day was mostly fun stuff, Thursday brought out a more serious side of the group.  When I first heard that part of orientation was completing a Service-Learning project, excitement filled me!  I hoped and imagined doing something amazing – teaching underprivileged kids to read, helping young pregnant women, feeding the homeless.

But when Gerrit told us that we’d be helping organize stuff at the Salvation army?   I had to battle major disappointment.

Through God’s mercy, the day wasn’t a total disaster… I didn’t feel unhappy or like I was useless there.  I didn’t sit in the corner and pout for the rest of the day.  I just asked for God to bless our work and our day.

And it didn’t feel like work to me.  I didn’t do anything but play a game of Tetris with office furniture.  But I was blessed by it.  I spent hours talking and goofing around and just bonding with the people in my group.  I was blessed with friendship and teamwork and a group whose insight and love could not have been replaced.

On day one, I never could’ve imagined that I would need these people in my life.  But I do.  I need every single one, because for this time, they are my blessing.  Our spirits are marvelously intertwined by a common love, goal, and joy.

I may not understand a lot of things, but I understand this:

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God.  Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.”

1 John 4:7*

“We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Romans 12:5*

*all verses in NLT


One thought on “The Blessing of Friendship

  1. I’m so glad for you, Allie. It is good to know that you are loved, but it is a blessing to be surrounded by those that love you. I know that finding true friends and feeling loved and secure has been one of our prayers for you. I’m excited and relieved that it has come so quickly. I trust that you are as much of a blessing to your new friends as they are to you.

    By the way, your last hug was priceless to me as well, I needed that. Thank you. I love you.


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