I once told someone that, if I did nothing else in life, my one goal was to inspire someone the way I have been inspired by so many amazing people throughout the years. There was one person in particular I thought of when I said that, but I realized after I said it that I could apply that to almost everyone I’ve met in my life. And, as my old high school teacher [PBS] used to say, “Everyone can be used as an example; some people just happen to be bad examples.”
Well, ladies and gentlemen, here are a few of my ‘examples’–and I certainly think they are all amazing and shining examples of wonderful people. This post will have my peer inspirations, and I’ll post again with authority figures that have pushed and inspired me.
First, there were the people along the road to the ville.
Bethany. When I was young, my best friend was named Bethany. We did quite literally everything together. We went to the same church, same school, and lived roughly a block away from each other in Texas. Although I left a lot of friends behind every time my family moved, I think leaving Bethany was the hardest. She was a little older than me, so of course I thought she was old and wanted to be ‘just like her when I grew up.’ That was basically the kind of relationship we had. I can only remember us having one fight in all our years of being friends–and I’m pretty sure it was over who got to dress up as Pocahontas. Still to this day, I admire Bethany and her amazing family. Did I mention them? Her family was my second family. Her parents were amazing.
Brandon. Brandon was Bethany’s older brother. He and my older brother, Jake, were best friends, leaving my poor little brother to fend for himself. Brandon and I got along when we were little, yes, but from what I remember, there was a constant power struggle between the girls and the guys. It was all in fun, of course, but when we did play together it was more chaos than anything else. In the past few years, however, I’ve found that Brandon has been one of my absolute biggest inspirations. Although I lost touch with Brandon and Bethany for a few years, I managed to find them [thank you, Facebook] about two years ago. That’s also when I found out Brandon had cancer, and though he had fought hard and had been fighting for quite a while, he was losing the battle. Bethany and Brandon and their parents constantly sent us updates about their lives, and there was always something about Brandon living a normal life–playing football, going on missions trips, going on near-marathon runs, supporting everyone he knew. He was a truly amazing young man. My sophomore year in college, I found out that he lost the struggle with cancer and passed away. I cannot tell you how heartbroken I was to find that out. I had always liked and gotten along with Brandon, and even though we hadn’t been in contact in ages, I had known we would always be friends. When he passed away, he left behind him such an enormous group of people who loved him, and he inspired so many people beyond me to live life to the fullest. Even though he was only 21 when he passed on to be with God, he had done so much! I want to be like him–and even if I don’t do everything he accomplished, I hope to inspire and encourage people the way he did.
Ellen. When I lived in Colorado, I met and become good friends with Ellen. We were very similar and had similar families. Ellen and I were close friends when both of our families moved south–us to OK, and their family to become long-term missionaries in Mexico. I was scared to death that Ellen would get bitten by a lizard or snake or something and die and I would never see her again. Although I have yet to see her again, I know she is alive and well–once again, thank you, Facebook. Ellen and I grew from kids to near-teens together, and we learned a lot about others through each other. Finding out later that she was great and absolutely loving something that I never thought possible [at least for me] was amazing. She’s shown me that, with God, anything is possible, just as the saying goes.
This brings me to my life right before and in the ville.
Molly. Yep, same name. I think that’s probably what got us to actually talk to each other. Though I only lived in Ponca City for nine months, I remember it as my favorite place of all the places I’ve lived, and Molly was one of the reasons why. I made so many incredible friends while I lived in Ponca [Sandra, yes, and Kaley, Hannah, LeAnna, etc etc etc], but Molly and I were pretty close. The first time I met her was at church [apparently, our parents knew each other] and she came up to me after service. Actually, she crept up behind a pew and then popped up behind me. “Hi! I’m Molly! You are, too, aren’t you?” And what do you know, we were friends. It was that easy. I definitely think that, though we’re quite a distance apart, we will always be friends because of those shorts months back in Ponca.
Sarah. Sarah was my first real friend in the ville. I actually hadn’t really planned on being her friend until my mom and dad took us to her house on their way to the hospital the weekend my youngest sister was born. We were snowed in and spent most of the day trying to figure out how to play an American Girl board game [we gave up], then decided to play in the snow with Jake, Beau, and Sarah’s brothers. We had a blast and were friends from then on. We ended up going to high school together and graduating in the same class. Today, I have seen Sarah a total of once all summer [Skype date ftw] but we spent a good two hours talking. We have so much in common, and I admire her for her courage in moving from home to go to college, getting a job in that town, and pursuing what she wanted as soon as she knew she wanted it. Her style is another thing I admire–Sarah, if you read this, I would appreciate some tips!–and her intelligence [emotional and book-smart] is incredible and inspiring.
Kelly. Oh, Kelly. Liuaua. You and I have some stories. Between Sarah and Kelly, I’m the dumb one who doesn’t understand literature or culture–and I consider myself to have a decent grasp on both those subjects. We had an amazing time through high school and still manage to hang out, even though we live hours apart. Kelly’s drive and love of learning, children, and life in general is so amazing and inspirational to me. I love her drive and her motherly instincts–and her incredibly clumsy self. What else can I say about Kelly? Seriously, you need to meet Sarah and Kelly to understand just how incredible these two people are.
Laura. Oh, I bet you were wondering when I would get to Laura. I’ve talked about her before, haven’t I? Laura transferred to my school when I was in tenth grade and she was in ninth. To be honest, I thought she was very strange and didn’t think we would get along. I didn’t talk to her or attempt to be friends for a long time. There was, however, a kid in our English class who needed to be…expelled, and that’s putting it nicely. We both disliked him immensely, again a light word. There was one day when this kid told our teacher to shut up in class. Although no one was particularly fond of this teacher, we were still outraged by this twit’s insolence. Laura promptly told the kid to shut up [and she scared ME, she was so forceful]. They both got sent to the principal’s office [which is dumb], but from that moment on I knew I wanted to be this strange girl’s friend. I consider Laura my closest friend now, and we’re kind of the same person. Almost. There is not a single weird thing about her I don’t like…although there are plenty of things about her I do not understand in the slightest. I don’t know what I’d do without Laura [or any of these people, really]. Laura and I tell each other everything, nothing held back. Even knowing my deepest darkest secrets, she’s still my friend. [If she wasn’t, I’d have to kill her. She knows way too much.]
Ali. Oh, you. You silly romantic poet blogger you. I love you, you know. You and I will be friends to the end of time and back. Ali and I met while working at Jude’s, our favorite coffee shop in the whole ville. Used to be the ONLY coffee shop in the ville…that’s beside the point. Ali and I instantly knew we were similar and had a lot more than our quietness in common. We latched on to each other and have helped each other through all kinds of bizarre and challenging life events, from boyfriends to T.V. shows to what to eat for dinner. I miss her incredible amounts when she’s off at college doing her thing, but I know she’ll always come back–she has to. Her boyfriend is here. I have leverage. Muahaha. Plus, our music tastes are very similar. We share musical finds and nerdy comments quite often, and that’s the way I like it.
Elizabeth. Elizabeth was my first college friend, and I’m proud to say that, even with rough patches and stress from school, we’re still quite tight. Elizabeth’s drive and determination and love of all things everything is amazing and I love her child-like yet mature outlook. She’s so trusting, even when she’s stressed to breaking. She knows what she wants and has a clear path set out to those goals. Elizabeth is my [slightly cleaner] Jess–from the show New Girl. We have so much in common, from a love of reading to a love of random TV shows and even a job. I love Elizabeth and our random, deep conversations late at night. I love our endless ramblings on books and shows and silly things. I love that, even when we’re both stressed, we can laugh about next to nothing and just enjoy each other’s company.
Well, that’s all I can think of. If I didn’t mention you, I’m sorry, but keep reading. I will most definitely be posting another of these soon, with some authority figures, and probably another after that with more people that I forgot or didn’t have room for.
Sorry this post has been so long–it’s been a while since I’ve written, and I wanted to let these wonderful people know just how much they’ve inspired me and helped me to become exactly who I am today, whether they know they helped or not.
Thank you all. I love you so much and I know we’ll all meet again someday. I can’t wait for that day!