He walked into the break room wearing his Mr. Roger’s sweater, boat shoes and dark rimmed glasses. I was a tad bit intimidated by his knowledge of the Bible and swore he had to have been older than me. Theology was his thing. The day I met him, he sat across from me and asked a thousand questions about our plans to adopt a child from Ethiopia. I never dreamed he would become such a good friend.
Justin and I worked together at City Rescue Mission and a friendship formed quickly. He’s liberal and I’m conservative, but we share a passion for social justice. We had both taken jobs at the local homeless shelter because we believed in living out what God calls his followers to do – care for the poor, the widow and the orphan.
It wasn’t long before Justin became friends with John (I was so thankful that John had a guy to go see all the movies with that I didn’t want to see) and I became friends with Justin’s wife, Jessica.
Justin knew about the possibility of John and I being able to adopt Jackson before John did. He saw Jackson’s birth mother on a daily basis and I’m pretty sure he fell in love with Jackson (who he nicknamed the Little Burrito) before he was even born. I remember texting Justin from the hospital to let him know that Jackson would be arriving at any time. I told him I was going to cry. His response, “I think I am too!”
Justin and Jessica are the kind of friends that are hard to come by. Over the past year and a half they have become like family. How many friends would hang out with you night after night when your baby is screaming from colic-induced pain? Not many, but Justin and Jessica did.
They went to court with us when we finalized Jackson’s adoption because we didn’t have family near by. Justin was at Jackson’s dedication at church. John and I trust Justin and Jessica enough that we would consider letting them care for Jackson if anything were to ever happen to us – we know they would take him in a heart beat! They love him. We are so grateful that they do.
Today’s going to be a tough day. We’ll be saying goodbye to our friends as they start a new chapter at Yale! I have avoided thinking about this for months. From the moment I met Justin and Jessica I knew they would be leaving. I joke and say I wish I wouldn’t have gotten to know them so well, but that’s a lie. I am a better person because of them.
Had I not gotten to know the scholarly guy in boat shoes, I would have missed out on so many memories – Dr Pepper and Red Bull breaks each day, passionate political conversations where Justin yelled and I quietly listened (he wasn’t yelling at me. He just tends to get louder the more passionate he is about something), crazy car rides and horn honking (I’ve never seen someone use their horn as much as Justin), having Justin and Jessica stay with us after their house got damaged in a storm, on many nights, cooking dinner for four instead of two, chuckling at the All Star Lineup (ARISE, ARISE, ARISE), handing out 1500 food boxes to the near homeless at Thanksgiving, hearing JENNIFER, JENNIFER, JENNIFER, yelled through my intercom at work, making cookies and cream cupcakes, Braums ice cream runs and the list could go on and on.
I made Justin a final batch of Cookies and Cream cupcakes Tuesday and printed the recipe for Jessica. I am sad, but I know that our friendship is one that can withstand the miles that separate us. I have no doubt that the friendship we share is the kind that will last a lifetime.