Lately I have been thinking about the people I know and how incredible their stories are and who they are as humans. Ever since my dear friend Geoff died this year I have been thinking about how I want to honor the people I love in my life, highlight their incredible natures and I keep coming back to this blog. What if I highlighted them here? What if for one little moment I could turn the spotlight on the people I know? I just can’t get enough of how wonderful the people in my life are! The stories they carry! What they have been through! So now, it has become part of my task to write about them. It is only a glimpse of them but it is just a moment to honor and celebrate them. It will be a sporadic series and I am an extrovert who looooovvvvess people and loves meeting new people and delving deep into what makes them them. But here goes….
The first person who popped into my mind for this is my friend Jon. Here he is with his incredible wife, Sharon….
Aren’t they beautiful people? And kind looking people? I chose Jon because of a visit with him recently which I will get to but mainly because these people are the people they show up to be…more later….
Jon and I met freshman year of college at Willamette University. We had a class together…he may remember which one but I think it was a history course. For some reason we both admired one another and kind of annoyed the other one. Or at least this is how I remember it in the beginning. I was smitten with him right away because of his intelligence and amazing musical taste (it seems to have always matched mine) but I was smitten in wanting to be best friend kind of smitten (I wasn’t totally out yet but that would have explained a lot of that).
We probably weren’t officially friends though until the next year when we were co-RAs together. We were resident assistants on the same floor of a dorm in which I was in charge of the girls side and he the guys side and we did most official things together. We decorated together, planned together and brainstormed together. It was a good working match. In some ways that year was really hard which bonded us probably forever. That same year he met Sharon and I think we could all see that they were an amazing match.
We survived that year and in our Junior year one of Jon’s best friends, Beth, and I became roommates and another friend and he became roommates and we had apartments right across the hall from one another. When 9/11 happened, Beth and I climbed on Jon and Charlie’s couch to watch the tv and huddle together for comfort. We were basically one big apartment between our two apartments.
The second semester of Junior year took us both to Ireland for a semester abroad. For some reason, we were angry at each other going over but soon we realized that we needed one another and became one another’s travelling partner and adventuring person. Jon and I were in a play together at university in Galway (the Laramie project), traveled around with one another, went to concerts and pubs together, snuck into movies together and that semester when I got really sick and when the days were such that I couldn’t get out of bed, Jon brought his cd collection over and we spent whole days listening to whole albums together. When I look back on that time, I think about Jon’s generosity of time and coziness to get me through some of those days.
We returned for our Senior year and while friends still, we drifted a part a little and eventually we went our separate ways for a while.
For a while we lost touch but then we both ended up back in Portland. We met up one day and talked for hours, reconnecting as our adult selves. Jon showed up with more self awareness than I see in most. He had been doing his work. Jon and Sharon married after college and now Jon was daddy to three little ones, including now three year old twins. The kids are fully of personality! They are amazing kiddos who will be amazing grown ups in the world.
Every time I am home I am eager to visit Jon, usually at their home because with twins, life is hectic enough to try to meet elsewhere plus I love seeing the kiddos as they grow.
And here is what I know about daddy adult Jon…
- He is an amazing father to his kids. Sharon and Jon together are amazing parents. Jon is the stay at home dad and he is incredible. He is patient and kind. He asks them about their feelings and truly listens. He doesn’t over react and even in exhaustion is eager to tell me about them and their growth. He values them and eases them into the world by acknowledging who they are as individuals.
- He is a man of deep faith and that includes deep questioning. I have watched my dear friend find a new church home when the theology didn’t work for them as a family in another place. I have watched him struggle but always come back to what God is calling him to do.
- He is a good friend. He is encouraging and kind with me. He listens deeply and gives wonderful feedback. He acknowledges how far I have come as well which is a nice mirror.
- He knows his limits and actively tries to grow in his own self awareness. I am so in awe of his constant view into his own self. It is mature and inspiring.
This is just the tip of the iceberg but I am so thankful for the way that Jon is a factor in my life. He is someone I know and I so want the world to know.