I started playing water polo the summer before my freshman year of high school. I was the only new girl on the team (this was before I convinced Bree to play with me) and I was playing in my first game ever. During that game, I was swimming and thinking I was probably going to drown and wondering why on earth I let Beth convince me to play this awful game when there was suddenly a turnover. Since I was slow and barely getting to the correct side of the pool, I was the closest one to our own goal, so my coach shouted at me to defend hole. That was when I was certain I'd drown. You see, Jacquie played hole. I had never met her but I knew who she was. The best female athlete at our rival high school and two years older than me. And intimidating. And I was supposed to defend her; me, a timid, terrified freshman who was playing my first game ever.
I remember that I forgot to put my hips up, and Jacquie, realizing she could easily turn me, called for the ball. I tried to stop her from shooting, but it was futile. She easily rose out of the water and slammed the ball into the goal, and I yelled at my coach to take me out of the stupid pool.
That was my first encounter with Jacquie.
Fast-forward seven years. I had just moved back home and got a job at Starbucks, where Jacquie worked. She was also attending the church where my dad had recently taken over as pastor, so I saw a lot of her. It seemed that she immediately decided we would be friends, and so we were. She would show up at my house and tell me we were either going for a walk around the park or playing our guitars together.
I loved it.
I love people who immediately act like we have been friends for years, who skip all the fake, superficial conversation and jump right into a real relationship. That's what Jacquie did. And I'm so thankful, because her friendship means the world to me. When I lived in Porterville, we were literally together all the time. We got in trouble often at Starbucks, and at the bank we worked at together, because we couldn't stop laughing. I credit her with being part of the equation that helped me out of a very difficult time in my life, and if it weren't for her openness and honesty about her own struggles, I don't think I would be who I am today. I want to force her to be my friend forever because I like myself better when I'm around her or at least being somehow influenced by her. I can be vulnerable and serious with her, and in the next moment we can laugh so hard we're literally shrieking.
Jacquie sincerely loves others and loves the Lord. She is an excellent example of a loving, helpful wife, one who puts her husbands needs before her own. She has a precious baby girl named Eliana, and it's so fun to watch her be a mother, or rather listen to her on the phone. (She called me when I was in the middle of writing this blog, and I got to listen to her talk to Ellie and tell her not to squish a butterfly. By the way, Ellie, I guarantee you'll watch plenty of Disney movies, and make sure to ask your mom to do her impersonation of the mice in Cinderella. Very entertaining.)
Jac, I'm blessed to be your friend, and even more by the fact that you continue to encourage me through letters and phone calls, even though we live 800 miles apart. I'm thankful for you and your kindred spirit, and for your ability to crack me up with your impression of my running skills.
By the way, I really think you should move to Oregon. :)