I’ve been doing lots of reflecting over the past four months. And I’m blown away by the incredible individuals I’ve met through a social media app. When I joined TikTok, I never thought that my life would become so much richer because of a group of new friends. As a deacon, one of my calls is to seek out those places outside the church where I can share God’s love with the world. But in all actuality, I think these friends in a sense sought me out.
The woman that is standing here today is a different woman than even a few months ago. She is understanding more and more who she is. She is a woman whose heart is true. She is a woman who adds value to her friends lives. She is a woman who is slowly beginning to see what everyone else has seen from the very beginning. I can’t wait to see where this road takes me because I’m beginning to believe and trust that there is an incredible road ahead for me.
Now don’t get me wrong, this journey has been difficult, hard and even painful at times. But what I’ve come to realize is that those times were the swift kick in the pants that I needed. Sometimes we need individuals who will tell us the honest truth and show us the road ahead.
When I traveled to Vegas last month, there was so much fear in my body. Would they like me? Would I be who they expected? Yet I still made that trip and I’m forever grateful. I quickly learned that these were my people. They saw me for me and never questioned that. In fact, for me, Vegas was a giant step in my personal growth journey. There are so many moments I’ll treasure: physically hugging these friends, intimate one on one conversations, dancing the cupid shuffle with my dear friend Matt at the cocktail party, and so many other moments along the way. Vegas brought me way out of my comfort zone.
I’m not sure what I ever did to deserve these friends, but I think it has to do a little with what I offer this world: my kindness, my gift with words, my care for others, and my deep love of my friends and family. It’s taking me awhile to get there but every day I begin to see more and more clearly. To be honest, I think for the longest time I’ve always sought validation from those around me. And there are days that I still struggle to seek out that validation. What I’ve come to realize is that my duty is to continue to trust in these friendships.
And I’m trusting more and more every day. For a long time, I feared that my friends would leave me in the dust. Yet that fear is slowly beginning to dissipate. Instead my heart is full of a joy and happiness I haven’t felt in a really long time. These friends show me daily how loved and valued I am. On Sunday night, my friend Matt surprised me with a gift: a Starbucks mug from Nevada to add to my collection. That act of kindness reminded me that I am valued and also that I’m an idiot for ever doubting that.
I am so grateful for each and every one of these friends. They add such value to my life. I came across this quote and it encapsulates how I feel: “Some people arrive and make such a beautiful impact on your life, you can barely remember what life was like without them.” In the words of the song “For Good,” from the musical Wicked, “I’ve been changed for the good by you.”
I don’t remember what life was like without you and I don’t ever want to remember what it was like before you graced my life with your friendships. I treasure each of you more that words can say. I love you all tons!