Enough About Me, Part IV

I write this one with the disclaimer that I’m going to have to take a break from these “friend posts”…I still have four or five more people I want to write about eventually, but 1) I don’t want to burn y’all out with the “You shoulda been there” stuff and 2) I have a TiVo full of programming that’s begging for my attention (it takes me a long time to write these posts – which is pretty pitiful considering, you know, the results). David said just a second ago that I’m so far behind on all my shows that I just need to give up on TV and wait for next season, but I am NOT a quitter, oh no I’m not.

All that being said, here goes:

7) Emma Kate – Now EK would tell you that the fact that she’s #7 is significant what with it being a holy number and all. By the way, David and I have had many laughs about what practical jokes I could play on EK when I finally wrote about her, with my favorite being his suggestion to say, “EK – y’all already know how sweet she is, so I don’t need to say anything else,” and then we would count the minutes until my phone rang and I heard EK saying, “Now, Missy, I’m not sure exactly what you have up your sleeve, but I’m not particularly fond of this little joke you’ve cooked up on the blog, and I suggest that you just head right back to the computer and try again.”

Because EK, you see, is SASSY. OH, she may fool some of y’all who mainly see her sweet side (which is very real and genuine), but Miss Thing is increasingly confident not only in her opinions but in her willingness to share them. After she had the twins she went through a year where she basically had no opinions and I got a little frustrated because it was hard to have a conversation with her. However, one day in April of ’03, she called me and said, “I haven’t been myself for the last year or so, but I’m back, and I want everyone to know it.” And the opinions, well, they’ve been a-flowin’ ever since.

EK and I met when we were freshmen in college – I have a vague memory of being at JC Garcia’s with her and our Chi O big sisters, but we didn’t really get to know each other until we were sophomores and were sort of thrown together as roommates second semester. I loved her to death before we lived together, but I didn’t really know her…I just knew that she was a really strong Christian, had very deep faith, and had never touched even a drop of alcohol in her life. I hadn’t, um, either, um, of course (ahem. a-HEM).

Most of you know that I grew up very, very Methodist, and EK grew up very, very Baptist. So while I had all these touchy-feely notions of God being all about grace and hope and peace and mercy, EK had a foundation of Bible drills, altar calls, and All-Powerful God (side note: growing up, I never heard the devil mentioned in a single sermon that I can recall. There was no talk of him in my hometown church, so to me the devil was sort of “the devil” – you know, the bad guy with horns, a pitchfork, and tail – but no kind of threat, really, because didn’t you hear the part about all the grace and hope and peace and mercy?). Anyway, I’ll never forget that EK and I talked on the phone over Christmas break, right before we were going to be roommates in January, and she told me this long story about a high school friend of hers who had an experience with some spiritual warfare and whatnot, and when I hung up the phone, I thought, “Okay, so that’s a WHOLE different perspective than what I’m used to…this living situation is going to be an eye-opener for me.”

I can honestly say that since that rainy January day when we moved into the Chi O house, the main thing that has been “eye-opening” is that EK has loved me unconditionally and selflessly. It caught me off-guard how openly EK encouraged me and looked after me and pretty much thought I was the cat’s pajamas…she would laugh at every thing I said, compliment me for no reason at all, and basically tell me how wonderful I was just because I liked to change my sheets every Monday. I’m a tad sarcastic, as most of you know, so EK’s pure encouragement – with no motive behind it at all, no hint of cynicism or irony – was a revelation to me.

EK, as long as I’ve known her, has never waivered in her faith. The verse in the Bible about “hold[ing] unswervingly to the faith you profess”? That’s EK. She has never, ever compromised. When we were roommates, she had a verse on the bulletin board above her bed that said, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” and I used to wrestle with that verse a lot in my head (keep in mind that I didn’t have a very strong theological background). I just didn’t get it – I thought that the sentence structure was confusing – I mean, couldn’t Paul have been a little more clear? How were the Philippians ever supposed to know what he meant?

About two years ago, the meaning of that verse finally clicked with me (yes, we’re talking about ten years later, but I’ve never professed to be a wizard, people). For Christ to be really evident in our lives, we have to die to our selfish needs (um, DUH, you’re thinking, but I am SLOW, I tell you – SLOW). And as I thought back on EK’s example during college and the years that followed, that’s exactly what she did. There must have been a thousand times when she watched me and thought, “YOU STUPID, STUPID GIRL” – but she never said a word. She died to her need to say her piece (I have a much harder time with that, as y’all know)…she died to her need to set me straight or tell me a thing or nine…she died to her need for being out with the girls and never compromised by experimenting with the “fire water” :-) …she died to herself over and over again so that God would be glorified through her actions. I did NOT have that kind of spiritual maturity in college – but I was so blessed to live with someone who did. EK took care of the praying and let God take care of the convicting – and I’m still experiencing the harvest of that, almost 15 years later.

EK and I have propped each other up on many occasions…you name it, we’ve covered it. If I’m dealing with something that I can’t really talk about because the details are too private or because sharing those details might betray someone’s confidence, EK never presses…she just says, “I know this is hard for you” and manages to find something uplifting in the situation. She typically relates the situation to something from the Bible – usually a person in the Old Testament whose name I couldn’t pronounce if I had to – and she always, always sees the things that I’m missing.

It’s surprisingly hard for me to write about EK, because so much of what she and I talk about is not exactly stuff I can discuss on the interweb. We’ve had our share of goofy moments, for sure, but mostly we talk about Serious Things. EK is my “iron sharpens iron” friend, so we don’t spend a lot of time on trivial stuff – we generally jump into the Issues Pool and try to wade out of it together. There have been circumstances in her life, health-wise and otherwise, that have created some difficult situations over the last couple of years. In true EK fashion, though, her faith has only gotten stronger. She praises God regardless – and she continues to encourage me every step of the way.

Bottom line: EK is a forever friend. She’s the person you want sitting beside you when life is shaky. She’s the person you want praying for you when you don’t know what to do. It’s not that she has some magical, direct line to God – it’s just that she’s faithful. SO faithful. I’ve said before that “everybody needs an Emma Kate” – somebody who will love you and encourage you (and above all else, she will have the very best shoes and purses, and she won’t share them with you, so don’t even ask, because while she’s generous beyond measure with her prayers, she’ll snap your head right off if you mess with the merchandise).

I can’t wait to tell her children about…the time at the end of our senior year at State, when EK came back from a weekend visit to Centrifuge, and she looked at me and said, “I met the man I’m going to marry.” Lo and behold, just a little over a year later, she did. And he is wonderful. Wonderful. Also, David wants me to include one other little detail: for the longest time, EK believed that the lyrics to the theme song from The Love Boat were, “I said of course for adventure, your mind on a new romance,” and that is classic EK.

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  1. It has been such a joy to read about our college friends! I have laughed and almost cried remembering such a wonderful group of girls! You are so right about EK. I can only pray that my children will have a faith that strong in college!

  2. Window – I still have to cover you, K., etc. I was going to write about you and EK at the same time, but hers got so long that I thought the post would take up the whole page. :-)

  3. BooMama,
    You’ve outdone yourself on this one. You could not have painted a truer picture of EK. The phrase that I’ve always connected to EK in my mind is “wise beyond her years.” The thing that is so wonderful about her is that while I’ve NEVER felt judged by her, I always want to live up to her expectations of me!

  4. I don’t even know how to respond. I am completely overwhelmed with your kindness. I have told so many people that I never discovered true friendships until college. Most of the girls I grew up with, sadly, were mean. It was easy to love you all because you were so wonderful. It was so easy to encourage you because you were and still are outstanding. YOU were the one encouraging me!!! So many times my sister has said “I wish I had a S. like you.” There is only one and I am the one blessed beyond measure by your love and friendship. I prayed for a forever, faithful friend and God blessed me beyond my greatest expectations. To God be the Glory, Great things He hath done!!!
    Also, by the way, I watched every episode of “The Love Boat” and STILL see nothing wrong with my interpretation Missy!!!!

  5. EK, I can understand about the “mean girls” in high school. After all, you were from the hometown of Princess Ginger, and I’ll bet she was one tough cookie back then…still is today. I’m sorry she harassed you so (:-) – I’m kidding – I love Ginger, as you know). But I sure am glad we all met you! Daph’s comment about never feeling judged by you is so true, too. That’s a special gift you have to make people feel like that.
    Hope you’re feeling better and that we’ll see you soon!


  7. Erin and I have a friend like that, Jen, who’s now Erin’s sister-in-law. Friends like EK and Jen are hard to come by!

    I love reading about your friends; they inspire me to be a better one to the great ones in my life :)


  1. […] Today I called Emma Kate because I had a little news I wanted to share with her, but when I said, “I have some news,” she immediately assumed that I was pregnant. Which of course I’m not. And if I were? Hello? I would have totally told the whole internet by now. […]