You’re about to go on a road trip to a fun place for the day, and your friend-who-likes-the-driving-part picks you up, so you’re pretty sure it’s gonna be a good day. With a car full of awesome ladies you love, you know it’s gonna be good. Then when your driving friend mentions that she brought some snacks along for the ride, you’re thinking, awesome! But when you finally open the container of snacks to find every single passenger’s individually wrapped favorite snacks? Holy cow, you’re in the presence of Your People.
This is what it’s like with Jess in your life. You live a carefree existence being toted around everywhere with a nice supply of your very favorite snacks forever and ever.
Well, something like that….
Sometimes it’s not car rides and snacks. Sometimes it’s flowers on your doorstep after a really crappy week. Once in awhile it’s a little card in the mail, or a note tucked onto the windshield of your car. Sometimes it’s a text message with a hideous picture of an obese cat, that you despise but can’t help laughing at.
It doesn’t matter exactly what it is, but when Jessica is Your People, you live with a pretty consistent stream of happy surprises infused into your life. Thoughtfulness is her love language. It’s impossible not to smile when you’ve been on the receiving end of her thoughtful acts of kindness.
And if you’ve hung out with her? Then you’re SUPER lucky, because she has a big, contagious smile that can put the sunshine to shame.
Out of all Your People, she will never be the one to forget your birthday. Or your anniversary. Or your kids’ birthdays. Or that appointment or interview or other-important-thing you mentioned. She will remember it and ask you about it because that’s what she does. She makes people feel like they’re special. (And people are special, it’s just that she lets them know it.)
Now don’t get me wrong. Jess isn’t perfect. I mean, sure you’ll have a thoughtful friend who shows that she cares about you all the time. But if you want to go to a restaurant where the whole group you’re with decides what they want and everyone’s ready to order when the waiter comes, she’s not your girl. She will ask 4,736 questions about three different menu items, then get the fourth one.
And if you’re somewhere that gives you a cup to get your own fountain drink, and you try to just dispose of it when you’re done without refilling it for the road? You will get scolded. Why would you waste that??? she asks. Last night at Panera I may or may not have referred to her as the “trash police.”
And let’s say you want to give her a little gift to reciprocate all those little surprises she’s always so thoughtfully giving. Don’t pick out something with a totes adorbs asymmetrical print and pattern. She’ll have a seizure and you’ll be dead to her. She just can’t even.
And she’s stubborn. So stubborn. When she gets an idea in her head, there ain’t no gettin’ it out. Which is why I’m sure she didn’t bother to tell us when she decided to track her lost iPhone using the “find my phone” function. She tracked it to a house (by herself) where she promptly knocked on the door and let the occupants know that her lost phone was inside their home. After a few moment of awkward conversation about it, she left. With her phone in hand. Oy vey. That girl.
Yeah, she’s not perfect, but that is fabulous news. Because when I asked her why she thought we were each other’s People, she said “Maybe because we know that we’re all a mess, and people make life better.”
Right on, sister.
Did you know that my girl Jess wears crazy socks year round? If you see her out and about, ask her to pull up a pant leg. There is a 94.8% chance you will find a brightly-colored crazy-patterned sock on her foot. She knows every inch of Amish country, especially the spots where you can get a puppy and a box of donuts the size of your forearm all in one stop. And she ALWAYS has the best Halloween costumes. Don’t even try to show up at her Halloween party and be all, I didn’t really want to dress up. She will not understand the words that just came out of your mouth.
Another thing y’all probably don’t know about Jess is that her life hasn’t always been as perfectly cheery as her pretty face seems to make you think. She endured some hard stuff at a young age. Nowadays she looks back and can see how amazingly God has pieced her life together to help her heal from wounds of the past. There have been a lot of those if that would have never happened, then this wouldn’t have, and we wouldn’t be at this place at this time, and we would have never…It’s one of the things I love most about her.
It’s cool to watch Your People put on the lens of hindsight, zoom way out, and see the big picture of what God is doing and has done in their lives. There’s a very pure appreciation for where they’ve come from, where they are now, and a sense of wonder about where they’re going. Just lovely.
Sometimes I think about me and Jess and how we are kind of unlikely friends. We are complete opposites in many ways. Had she and her husband not started attending our church, we may never have crossed paths. We were introduced in the lobby one day, we invited them to go out sometime “for lunch or drinks or whatever” (which was hilarious to two non-drinking former Nazarenes! Ha!) and they actually took us up on a lunch date. We spent time with Jess, Dave, and their super hilarious son Julian. I had an inkling we’d be lifers after that.
Somehow we stumbled into home group together, (she would remember that better than I would… we call her The Vault.) And once we all started connecting within our group, it was clear, we were among Our People.
Learning her loves is a fifty-fifty thing. She’s got some constants. Family. Traditions that bring people together. Funky socks. But some of her loves are ever-shifting, and you just have to figure out where her interests lie at the moment. Like whether she’s eating popcorn by the bag or roasting cauliflower for dinner. Whether she’s drinking a Coke freeze or a super, duper, large iced tea. Those loves are fluid. They can change. I’ve learned to keep up with the ones that don’t. They’re the most important.
Jess is crazy supportive of my endeavors. Teaching, abolition work, writing, anything. She will attend a function, help me sell stuff, spread the word about whatever I am going after. It’s just no question whether or not I can count on her support. I suppose that’s because when it comes down to it, she’s not an encourager of what I do, but she’s an encourager to me. Because We are each other’s People, and that’s just what you do.
At least if you’re Jess, that’s what you do.
Thank you for being My People, girl. I love your Type A-ness, your smile, and your thoughtfulness so very much. I want everyone to have a Jess!
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