I've been thinking about my friends a great deal today. Perhaps it started with a text from a dear friend last night talking about listening to Deltron. If you don't know who that is, he is (or was?) a rapper from yester-year who laid down some sick beats. Actually they were ridiculous yet strangely addicting. Brooks, I still have "3030" stuck in my head because of you.
I've got so many friends that it might be impossible to mention them all in one post, so if you read this and feel left out, sorry. I'm going off the top of my head here and just thought I would mention as many people as I can with as many memories as come to mind.
There's Andy, Matt, and Garrett, who each deserve a paragraph by themselves because of so much that I could say about them. The epic tennis and golf mathces in high school when me and Andy would clearly be the better athletes and yet Garrett and Matt somehow managed to win once or twice (feel the sarcasm). The late summer nights swimming at Matt's house and the super-late nights at Andy's house when the 3 of us would watch Matt twitch so bad in his sleep that he would convulse clear off the sofa because he drank like 7 Mountain Dews. Once Matt's body shut down, there was nothing you could do... not even Mountain Dew could revive him.
There's Brooks and Evan, the two most unlikely roommates that somehow fit together like peanut butter and jelly (couldn't think of anything better, sorry). There's the days when Brooks forced us to go on an "adventure" along the cliffs of Point Loma or Ocean Beach, which essentially meant getting your feet jacked up while waves pummeled you into submission. Or the days in La Jolla when we body surfed for hours at Wind and Sea - and the time Evan saved Brooks' life (or was it the other way around) when Brooks wanted to show off his rock climbing skills. And who could forget the amazing and fierce matches with "Hot Shots 3" and "Mario Kart 64". Good times, good times.
There's more PLNU friends, Greg, Jeff, and Bryan in particular, and the one semester in Flex. I may have more memories from my last semester of college because of those guys than any other single semester. Much of it wasn't even stuff we did, but the ridiculous banter that would go on with any combination of the 4 of us and who knows who else who'd find their way in to our apartment. Jeff, the advice you gave me on Metal Gear Solid 3... priceless. Eck, that one time when I jumped on your bed in my sleep and almost killed you... sorry. Greg... you're just lucky it wasn't you.
There's Taylor, the friend who I shouldn't have been friends with according to my mother (though I think she came around). Now that I think about it, none of my friends from Victory thought I should be either. But we beat the odds my friend, we beat the odds. The professional TP jobs we pulled on so many girls (especially the one I can't mention cuz we STILL might get killed if we were ever caught). The overly competitive basketball games on Saturday mornings. And much, much more.
There's Bobby, who packed up for Boston right around the the time song "I think I'll go to Boston" was popular - coincidence? I think not Bobby. But, even so, you and I had some great times and bonded faster than I've bonded with just about anyone. Remember the random sleepover in that huge house I was house sitting for? And how I dominated you in billiards? Awesome.
The PBC friends - adults, students, adult leaders. There truly are too many to mention here. The parents who gave us ridiculous amounts of grace with their kids and my forgetfulness, the students who put up with some pretty bad games (but I had some good ones too!) and the adult leaders who were ever-supportive in every way imaginable. You all contributed heavily to so many memories being some of the fondest in my life.
There's Rick, past or PBC and one of my closest friends. The amount of time he poured into me when he had many other things he could be doing, the nights we had dinner at his home with Elisabeth and others, the trips to Murphy's and the shenanigans we enjoyed up there (especially with you, Thomas!). Rick, you've left an indelible mark on my character, ministry philosophy, and theology... you are forever responsible for how I turn out. Just kidding.... but really, you left your mark.
There's Keith, who even though we were friends in high school we really became good friends in college through multiple 7 hour rides together and then our wives becoming best friends (more on you later Ariana). Perhaps the funniest memory we share between us is that one fateful ride up north when I got so tired (what was it, 10pm?) that I fell asleep... while talking! Fortunately not driving, but who falls asleep while talking?
There's Joe Kappler, who in just one year at PLNU became one of my closest friends and somehow remains that way til this day. Being in Portland has been even more enjoyable because we have more time together buddy!
There's my brother, who although we had our fair share of "I hate my brother" moments as kids is one of my closest friends. Time truly wouldn't suffice to bring up the memories we've had together, the things we've been though together, and the love I feel from him and for him.
There's my dad, who is ever-encouraging and relentlessly optimistic. I call him the "eternal optimist" because of it and love him for it. Dad, I truly do miss your company being hundreds of miles away from you again. But we're looking forward to Thanksgiving!
There's my in-laws, every last one of you. Grant, John, Whitney, Jeff, Lorrie... I literally could not have asked God for a better family to marry into. I'm just very, very thankful. Maybe another time I'll do a whole post on you... but a few sentences will have to do for now.
There's the women who mean so much to the men I've mentioned, and therefore to me. Ariana and her witty, "I'll add skee to anything" ways. Brittany and her great laugh... not to mention amazing desserts. Jen (and Dylan... who's not a woman of course but an man's man) who keeps Matthew in check and thoroughly enjoys good wine with us. There's Christiana (did I spell that right?), who stole Andy's heart and who I wish I was able to know better. There's Carrie, who somehow deals with my brother's antics. I think you enjoy it more than anyone else in the world... at least I hope for your sake you do! There's Anne, who is the perfect compliment to Joe and is the life of the party. There's more, I'm sure - Veronica, Vanessa, the list goes on.
There's one more friend. My wife. My best friend out of all my friends. As many people are aware, she's so much like me at times it's scary. She really is my better half though. She makes me laugh, gives amazing advice, is an incredible chef, and beats me at tennis once in a while too. She's the love of my life and without her I literally do not know what I'd be like today. More could be said... but I'll save the mushy stuff for just her and I.
The point of this all is, I love you guys. I'm thankful for the days we've had together - any memory that I jotted down here is just one among many I had to choose from. It's hard being so far away from nearly everyone we're close to. But, I know that if I were to write something like this in another couple of years I would add a host of new names that I've either just met or haven't yet encountered. God has blessed me abundantly in many ways, one of which is great friends. Again, if you're not on the list, I mean no offense - I just need to get back to studying for a test and this is already getting too long.
Thank you, all of you.