Mira and I met 16 years ago when I arrived at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. We don’t exactly remember how or when we met. Mira was in a class ahead of me but we had overlapping friends, it was a smallish institution and we got to know each other a little bit then. We didn’t really get to hang out one on one but we were in group settings together and had chatted a bit. She and her then husband graduated and ended up moving to Oregon and working for the conference in Oregon-Idaho which bonded us on a different level.
When I returned and was appointed, though, pretty soon after they moved back to Chicago for a short stint but then moved back to Oregon to live and work. In the meantime, they had Auggie. I remember when he was so little and it has been so much fun to watch him grow. He is a character in his own right with so much spunk and amazing brilliance in how the world works (and much of that is due to his amazing parents too).
Mira and I were friendly and chatted for a long time. We knew each other but didn’t really know each other. I think we thought very fondly of one another and somehow felt we knew each other but hadn’t really broken through to the deeper friendship part of our friendship until a few years ago. When I was going through horrible church struggles, and my relationship was falling apart, Mira was someone who came over to just be and hang out. We were both in Portland and she, I think, felt safe to be herself in my space and I felt as though I never had to entertain but could feel my friend walk alongside of me. We started down the path of deeper friendship. We lamented about hard things in our lives and rejoiced when little joys happened. Mira is an amazing person to accompany others in this world. This is what also makes her an amazing and truly gifted community organizer and mostly in Spanish which I have always admired. This also means that she is truly committed to her locale and her community.
Mira and I acknowledged though that we became truly close kindreds the next year, right after I walked the Camino both of us signed up for a coastal pilgrimage with the organization Heartbeat Journey. In September of 2017 we walked over 40 miles together over a few days along the coastline. We were in a group of people but Mira and I found ourselves talking for hours with one another, praying together and just walking alongside one another on this journey.
We belly laughed with one another and told so many stories. We truly saw one another on this journey and it sealed the friendship deal. It was amazing that 14 years after we met, we became such connected friends.
This experience has taught me so much more about life with others…about how people intertwine in our life and our lives shift at times and become so much richer when we give it time, space and experience.
Now, Mira has become someone I talk to almost every day. She is one of my most trusted friends. We tell each other just about everything and we know if the other one can’t keep in touch as much it just means we pray for each other deeper. We have been there for each other through marriages and divorces, new relationships and big moves, and constant discernment decisions. We have watched each other make hard choices and have cheered each other on through big choices and decisions.
Mira is an amazing person in our world. And of course, this is just the tip….:)