Fragile.

Friendships are fragile things and require as much handling as any other fragile and precious thing.
— Randolph S. Bourne

Be careful with words. Be careful with actions. Be careful with hearts.

Hearts especially. They are the most fragile — easily hurt, easily cracked, easily broken. Friendship is trusting that the other person holds your heart well; safely; protectively; doing everything in their power to keep it from breaking. Be careful with hearts.

I wish I had more for you, but my heart is still stuck on this.

Things that I love: 10

todos mis amigos

songs that make my feet dance; songs that make my heart dance

learning Spanish; speaking Spanish

friends who know my soft spot for Spanish and French and speak to me in these languages

sabiendo esto: El siempre se puede hacer algo.

dreaming of traveling adventures

mornings spent downtown

finding new treasures in Seattle

accomplishing goals

receiving surprise letters

being part of a secret

cutting & coloring my hair

church family

reconnecting with old friends

meeting a new friend and having everything in common

friends who pray for me and hold me accountable

friends who share my heart and share theirs with me too

Five-minute Friday: Mail.

Go.

Writing letters is one of my love languages. I know it’s not technically one of the five love languages, but it is mine. I check the mail box impatiently — waiting, waiting, waiting. I anticipate carefully thought out words stuffed in carefully addressed envelopes. Sometimes there are surprises that have me smiling for the whole day.

I go over the words carefully — over and over — taking in the precious thoughts of a dear friend. It says to me, “I was thinking about you days (or weeks) ago and thought you needed a reminder that I love you.

One of the greatest things about having friends all over the world is that getting mail happens more often. The best letters have envelopes that tell stories.

Japan.

France.

South Africa.

Mexico.

They tell stories of places they’ve been and I dream of the adventure they had in getting all the way to my mail box. What a grand adventure! I await the next stories that find themselves in my mail box. I await their colorful postage and stamps and the friendly words inside. Always waiting, waiting, waiting, and in the meantime, sending, sending sending. You won’t be waiting long.

Done.

(Prompted by Lisa-Jo over at The Gypsy Mama.)

Into their stories.

Parents are supposed to teach their kids not to talk to strangers. I’m not sure if my parents ignored that lesson in safety or if I refused to hear it, but either way, I have grown up to love talking with strangers. The thrill of saying our first shared words and watching conversation unravel; the fulfillment of attaching a name to a face; the joy of finding commonalities with previously mysterious strangers — it’s a beautiful concept to be welcomed into a stranger’s life, into their story, if only for the 10 minutes we share on a city bus.

_ _ _

My hands rested in my pockets and my feet shuffled to the beat of Coffey as my lips curled up over my rosy cheeks. The wind blazed through 3rd and Pike, rustling my hair and widening my smile, as the 17 arrived. I breathed it in one more time — the busy people, fast cars, and roaring buses, forcing their way through crowds and traffic, ignoring lights, ignoring the wind, ignoring each other; the smell of stale smoke and a whiff of weed from the gangsters and homeless delinquents; the unrelenting wind, barreling through tall buildings and into my cold lungs. I took in the sweet elements of my imperfect city and stepped up into the bus, sitting down in a familiar green seat. Other riders shoved through the crowd, unaware of the people around them, and made their way to their own green seats, selecting the place of least conflict or conversation. But I smiled at them as they marched up those first steps and made their way through the narrow aisle. I smiled eagerly, awaiting someone, anyone, who would reciprocate my desire to befriend a stranger.

“Hola,” he said to me.

“Hola,” I said back.

“She speaks Spanish!” he said to his friend while chuckling in his hearty voice.

How many times can a smile grow? I wondered; mine grew again. He overestimated my ability to speak his language, but I didn’t tell him my secret. I met Mario and Alberto that morning. Mario asked me for a hundred dollars and Alberto just shook his head.

“He’s joking,” said Alberto.

“I know,” I assured him, smiling again. “So, what do you guys do?”

They told me about being fishermen and how work was hard to come by. Mario asked for a hundred dollars one more time. I told him I didn’t even have 50¢, so then we talked about family. They told me about brothers and sisters and family in Mexico and El Salvador; and they told me how they missed their families but Seattle was their home.

Mario mumbled something in Spanish to Alberto, their eyes glancing at me, then back to each other. Alberto told me Mario thought I had nice eyes.

“Thank you,” I told him.

He mumbled in Spanish again. Alberto laughed. “No,” he said to Mario, shaking his head.

I asked what they were talking about. Alberto hesitantly told me Mario thought I had the kind of eyes that changed color.

“Si,” I replied. “Sometimes green, sometimes brown, and sometimes a little of both.”

“I told you!” he said excitedly, hitting Alberto’s arm. Alberto smiled.

Ding. They reached their stop.

“Nice to meet you, Hannah. It was good to talk with you,” said Mario.

“Nice to talk with you too,” I said as I waved to the strangers who became my friends between Pike St. and Westlake Ave.

_ _ _

I met Shawnti on the 41 while laughing at the ridiculousness of those who complained about overcrowding. If only they could see public transportation in Japan or India, we agreed.

I met Kris on the 347 — a conversation that started with overcrowding and ended with, “see you next Tuesday,” was filled with dreams of travel and a mutual desire to know and experience culture in a way that changes us.

I met Mark somewhere on 3rd while waiting for the 511. We went out to coffee together and he told me about his family and his old life before the streets.

_ _ _

Tonight I wonder who I’ll meet tomorrow.

I meet them on the streets, on the bus, at the station, on the airplane. We exchange names and smiles and for 10 minutes we share life together. I may not have the luxury of time, but I have the joy of letting strangers become friends, of sharing in their stories, if only for a while.

I love hearing these beautiful stories, and I hope in our 10 minutes they glimpse a bit of Christ in mine.

I should be reading.

I should be doing homework right now, but my mind is busy, busy thinking about the goodness, sweetness, and joy of life.

Recently I have been seeing God’s little blessings everywhere.

Before I delve into that, I have to be honest. Last quarter at SPU was hard. Not academically, but emotionally. When people tell you about college and the wonderful times they had oh so many years ago, they forget to mention that when you are first at college you experience some of the hardest few months of your life. They don’t tell you that it’s hard to meet people in college. Or that you feel more alone than ever — meals in the dining hall are sometimes embarrassing because there’s no one to sit with; activities make you feel vulnerable because there’s no one to hang out with; happy moments seem insignificant because there’s no one to share them with; emotionally hard times are impossible because there’s no one to talk to.

They fail to mention the hard stuff.

So while you’re going about trying to get A’s, friends, and sleep all at the same time, you never know that the lonely, empty, what-in-the-world-am-I-doing-here feeling is normal. Completely normal. Because that’s how new things are. It’s just not usually your whole life that is new.

After the first quarter was over, and I had time to think about all that had happened over break, I realized that now I know what I’m doing. I have this college thing down. Classes? easy. Roommates? awesome. Laundry? I know where to go. Crazy schedule? manageable. Friends? I’ve got a few. The things that used to overwhelm me don’t need to anymore. So now I have time to focus on what needs more of my time. It demands more of my time and effort. Friendship.

So far this quarter, God has blessed me with friendship. The other night I met some wonderful people from another hall while watching Pride and Prejudice, yes the 6 hour version. These wonderful people have become good friends. Then on Sunday, I met more people at Calvary Fellowship. I am (hopefully) going to join with one of the other girls in Women’s Ministries and a home group. God is good in the way that he provides. His ways are perfect.

I am so excited for these new ways to build friendship and for how the Lord continues to bless my life.
“Everything he does is right, and he does it the right way.” Daniel 4:37

Our sisterhood.

For the past 2 years I’ve met with an amazing group of girls. (The group has been together for about 6.)  These girls have been with me in my biggest highs and my lowest lows. It isn’t just a group of friends, it’s a group that was hand-picked by God. We’ve laughed genuine laughs and chuckles and giggles together. We’ve cried genuine tears together. We’ve learned about the blessing of brokenness together. We’ve learned about lies women believe and how to be a woman of excellence. We’ve learned Bible foundations, and we’ve studied Ester and Joshua. We’ve discovered what it means to have a Crazy Love for Jesus and what it looks like to live out our faith passionately. Our songs have always been Jesus, Love of My Soul and Father, I Adore You. We’ve sung out of tune, had sleepovers, and gone “treasure-hunting” on the beach together. We painted pottery for our 16th birthdays. We made two Oscar winning movies (4 Awards total). We’ve shared the deepest things in our hearts — boys, prom, friends, heartache, failure, success, blah times, winter seasons. But this isn’t just a fun group of friends. Megan made it clear tonight that God really did bring us all together for a specific purpose. Maybe we’re the Sisterhood of Matching Rings or maybe we’re just the most perfect small group that ever has existed. Whatever we are, I’m glad I’ve been a part of it.

Tonight we just went to the beach and took silly pictures and then at a 1/2 gallon of ice cream at an old abandoned building in Edmonds. It was such a perfect night, one that I won’t soon forget. I loved tonight. It was our last “official” night, as next we’re having a dessert/slide show/parents night, and then it’s summer, and then we go away to college.

But I know that our group won’t stop being a group because of distance or time. I don’t say that in naivety. We are something special, and always will be. That’s just who we are, because our bonds and glued together by Christ. It sounds cheesy, but it’s so true. I love these girls and our friendship.