Monday, February 06, 2006

Angels of Compassion

Angels of Compassion-- me, Bek, Summer, Lori, Alissa; Angie, Amber, Meredith, Misty
Spring of 2003

These are my girls. We were all in the incoming class of 2000 at OCU, specifically the honors program. Through the years we bonded through homework, Bible studies, personal crises, engagements, weddings, graduations, practical jokes, career searches, and all of the other things you experience in your college years.

This picture was one of the last nights we were all together. As we geographically drifted apart because of marriages, graduations, and intense load work in our major classes, our friendships took on a new role. One of us moved up north to begin a new chapter of her life and found herself homesick and lacking direction, so we rallied around her and a couple even make a trip up to see her. Another gave everything up to move to Central America to spread the light of the gospel and again, trips, emails, and care packages are there to show we support her in her work. When I was sick, these amazing women rallied around me with visits (both in person and through a personalized DVD), gifts, cards, and email.

These are just the examples I thought of off the top of my head to show the ways that we have stuck together through thick and thin to cry with each other tears of joy and pain. I know for a fact that "smaller" gifts of love are passed between all of us each day through emails and phone calls and thinking back on the great memories we share.

I know we're just a few years out of college and as the years go by it will be easier to lose touch. But these girls are some of my best friends, and no matter how far we spread out or now infrequent the emails become, I have faith that there will always be a special bond of strong love between us.

Some of my best friends are guys. But there is a special purpose and gift to having good friends of the same sex. In fact, I've always said that you have to be suspicious of a person who has trouble keeping friends of the same sex. A strong group of male friends is one of my criteria for a potential spouse.

So those are my girls. Once Bailey McBride, upon hearing of some of the stories of our friendship, remarked that we were like "angels of compassion" to each other. I couldn't think of a more appropriate title for these women.


Anonymous said...

Oh Girls - that was a crazy night! Mer, you need to make a video and send it out to us.

I can definitely say that my visit from Mer and Misty in Chicago was one of the best memories from my time there. Funny thing about Chicago - while many of my days there were lonely and I went through a crucible in my spiritual life and career goals, I would move back in a heartbeat. Once I finally made friends at church they were the best friends, even though they were all older than me and settled. In order to grow up and really find myself, it took that time of being levelled emotionally and having to rebuild from my ashes. Some days were so hard and I wanted to give up, but I didn't because I didn't want to let you down.

I wouldn't have made it through those cold Chicago days without you girls! True, I had Eric there with me, but I can't tell you how much I depended upon your emails and phonecalls. I love you all so much!

Evelina said...

That was a lot of fun. I wish I had been around more. I feel like I missed out on a lot, not living on campus. What I did not miss was having a curfew.

crittermer said...

Yes, we are the Society for Hope and Encouragement (SHE) or the ZENmasters, depending on who you ask. I like to think that it's not necessarily an 'honors thing' that we have such a deep bond, but that honors was simply the way God chose to make all our lives intersect originally. I also like to think that as much as each of you have meant to me, I would have somehow found your kinship whether honors was there or not. (At least that's my non-embarrasing, non-elitist way of explaining it.)

And honestly, it's not that hard to keep in touch with and show love for a group of people that has meant as much to me as y'all have. You have been my biggest team of encouragers over the recent years. It always amazes me to see you guys jetting all over the globe and trying all sorts of new things in pursuit of all sorts of noble causes. Your examples give me strength and encourage me to always reach beyond mediocrity. Each one of you has an incredible intellectual ability, that used in conjunction with your compassionate hearts and your love for God, is unstoppable and beyond inspirational. And I always love to hear each of you talk about pressing issues because I know your words will be eloquent and holy, not to mention well-thought-out.

You girls are living pictures of faithfulness to me. Recently when reading through Scripture, I came across the whole 'giving it all up to gain so much more' idea. When I thought about Ann's illness and the way she has handled it and everything Amber has given up to live in Honduras, that idea instantly came alive to me. I am very thankful that you can be spiritual heroes to me, as well as reminders to keep fighting the good fight.=)

And all the good times, good times. Indeed.

Haha. And lastly, this post makes me thankful for the AA connection that has made most of the aforementioned travel affordable. Yay for being something special in the air!

Love, mer

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I miss those times. Ann, I especially miss being your roomie. Remember when we had our Bible/Science paper due and we decided to learn the backstreet boys dance instead of working? Remember listening to my rants about OC soccer? You were always my faithful dictionary (I really miss that!) and someone I knew I could ask those deeper spiritual questions and I would get real conversation. Ann, I am so glad God gave someone in student housing the great idea to put us together. You will always be my dear friend.
And guess what! My little bro is planning on doing the Honors Program and I'm so excited! I hope he experiences it like we did...

Misty said...

Do you guys remember the ZEN Master awards? Well, one Russell Winters went off about how stupid they were, elitist and snobby and preferntial. And then I remembered that we had made him an award, only, I had forgotten to give it to him. Which was true. And then he took back all of what he had said.

Misty said...

Do you guys remember the ZEN Master awards? Well, one Russell Winters went off about how stupid they were, elitist and snobby and preferntial. And then I remembered that we had made him an award, only, I had forgotten to give it to him. Which was true. And then he took back all of what he had said.