Stefanie– my best friend
What I remember most about Stef is her deep,
total acceptance of me. That’s how best friends are. That’s what they do.
Someone said to me recently, of “best friends”
that they are the ones who remember who you are
even when you don’t.
And then you get to remind them
who they are, when they forget.
And we go on like this, remembering our best selves,
holding each other to account,
forgiving each other for our humanness,
laughing with each other
in moments too mundane to ever forget.
In the movie Avatar, the famous line spoke:
I SEE YOU.
I believe this about Stefanie. She saw me.
And she never turned away –
in fact, she sought me out.
Even during her distressed life of living with cancer,
she always made time to ask how I was doing?
How was my family? How was Logan, my nephew?
When the time came for me to be baptized,
it was Stefanie (and John)
who presented me to the living waters,
to be marked as Christ’s own forever.
On that day, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing,
but these two held me up and gave me the courage walk in faith.
That’s what best friends do.
I believe that Stefanie showed me
what it means to live with a tenacious hope
and a generous love.
She showed up for me, in my time, and I for her.
Even her “I’m going to tell this story all the way through” style
and her “there’s nothing you can do to push me away” self
showed me how to love and laugh
and hope and dream.
And showed me how to believe in newness and freshness of life.
When I met Stefanie in 1990, she seemed familiar.
Did that happen when you met her?
She seemed to have a knack for getting to know folks
and remembering their names – like no one was ever a stranger.
In fact, we laughed often about how we met at a BBQ in Brussels
nearly one year after we actually had attended the same
Pumpkin Carving party hosted by a mutual friend in San Francisco.
And so it went, whatever trouble one of us was in,
we shared – whether
vomiting from drunkenness or chemotherapy,
crying from exhaustion at the end of a marathon or the end of a marriage,
talking about incidental anecdotes or incendiary politics...
we shared it.
These are intimate moments reserved for best friends.
And all happened will remain secrets between us.
I recently found a poem that captures our friendship,
That way of being friends…
unlike any hallmark book can do.
In Sweet Company
We sit together and I tell you things,
Silent, unborn, naked things
That only my God has heard me say.
You do not cluck your tongue at me
Or roll your eyes
Or split my heart into a thousand thousand pieces
With words that have little to do with me.
You do not turn away because you cannot bear to see
Your own unclaimed light shining in my eyes.
You stay with me in the dark.
You urge me into being.
You make room in your heart for my voice.
You rejoice in my joy.
And through it all, you stand unbound
By everything but the still, small Voice within you.
I see my future Self in you
Just enough to risk
Moving beyond the familiar,
Just enough to leave
The familiar in the past where it belongs.
I breathe you in and I breathe you out
In one luxurious and contented sigh.
In sweet company
I am home at last.
– Margaret Wolff
Rest in peace, Steffie, my best friend