In August of last year, I texted with Julie about what a total B her uterus has always been to her, and how glad I was that she was finally being evicted from Julie’s body. We talked and texted a handful of times since then, some about marriage & kids, but mostly about emotionally processing her having cancer. The genesis of our friendship was at grad school in the marriage and family therapy program in New Orleans. I met her briefly in 2005 before Katrina (the original B) came and swept everything away. And once the school got back up and running, we became fast friends.
I liked Julie right away. She’s the type of person who is good at everything she does. She’s very smart, capable and competent. You explain something once and it’s locked and loaded from then on out. She is very easy to be friends with. Funny and lighthearted. More than a little inappropriate…like me.
She’s a very skilled therapist. We basically “dug around” in each other’s lives, trying on different therapy techniques, and that’s how we got to know each other so well. That’s when I realized how amazing and beautiful of a person Julie was. When we weren’t being ammature therapists out of our depth, our conversations were full of witty musings on life, and deep heart talks about what it means to be an flawed, Image-bearing human after the Fall, and how to love King Jesus with our whole, whole hearts.
We often joked about opening a therapy practice together called “Straight Shooters, LLC” where we would wear western themed outfits like fringed swede vests and denim skirts, and “tell it like it is” to our clients. Because being a little ridiculous while maintaining our therapeutic integrity was the language of our friendship.
Our friendship was one where nothing was unsafe to talk about and nothing was left unsaid. I trusted her in every way. She could be counted on. My name was safe on her lips. My story was safe in her heart. She would always agree if I thought someone was being stupid or annoying, and then subtly offer a wise perspective. I had the comforting, unwavering confidence that I could hand off anything in my life to her, big or small, not give it a second thought, and know it was better off in her hands than mine. I know she took care of all her people this way.
I can’t fully describe what a deep gift to my soul she gave me: to be known, unconditionally accepted and fully supported…better than a good bra. I trust Julie. It’s a simple sentence but a profound truth that resonates to my core. And to lose a person who is that much of a safety net, even if you didn’t need them to come through all that often, is just a hard, hard blow.
I don’t know what to say about Nate. I don’t know what to say about the babies. My only solace right at this moment is that sometimes the harder things are in life, the easier it is to find Jesus in the mess. The rest of my heart is all jumbled up with questions that have no good answers.
I have lost a piece of me, but I am so deeply grateful and forever changed to have fully given you that piece.
May we take the lessons of Julie’s life and love for Jesus and incorporate them into the marrow of who we are.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.