My husband’s first pastorate out of seminary was in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington DC. He was a youth pastor and I was a teacher, and we were still pretty new to town. One Sunday a young couple visited our church. I casually chatted with them — a British fellow with the name Steve Martin (isn’t that fun?) and his lovely American wife, Jamie. And in those few moments I had one of those weird experiences I’d only had once before: I knew immediately that Jamie and I would become very good friends.
It was a strange feeling with no real basis, other than an underlying conviction we had clicked in a meaningful way. Almost fifteen years have passed since that Sunday. We’ve lived apart for eleven of them. But the fledgling friendship that started that day has been one of my life’s dearest gifts.
One spring Jamie came to visit us in Michigan. As the two of us wandered through an antique shop, she handed me a worn school primer she’d found on a shelf. Maybe it will be helpful for that new book idea you have, she said. It ended up being key. On the day May B. came into the world, Jamie wrote something that to this day makes me cry.
As I struggled with writing Blue Birds, Jamie was the one to tell me good work is often hard work. Each time I’d email about how difficult it all was, she’d remind me the writing was hard because it was important.
This time last year I was deep in the midst of second-round edits and desperate to connect with Alis and Kimi in a meaningful way. So I started wearing a strand of pearls. Everyday. With sweats and dressy clothes and everything in between. Unless I was sleeping or exercising, the pearls were there. My Blue Birds girls share a pearl necklace (you can see Alis wearing it on the cover). Wearing pearls was a constant reminder of their friendship, a way to meet them beyond my writing sessions, to carry them with me to the grocery store, while walking the dog, into life’s small, quiet moments.
It was during this time I found this treasure in my mailbox. A gift from Jamie (who knew nothing about the pearls). And that’s when I knew with certainty exactly who this book was for.
If we’re lucky, we find friends in this world who love us as we are and bring out our best selves. I hope that’s what I’ve captured in Alis and Kimi’s relationship. It’s what Jamie Martin has given me.
Jeannine Atkins says
I love this. Never had a friendship that started so instantly, but I treasure other kindred spirits, who you made me think of. Also, I love the necklaces.
Are you kidding me?! This is just the dearest, most humbling, honoring thing I’ve read. How dare you make me sob in the middle of Panera! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Love you tons. xoxox
Love you, lovely one!
Faith Hough says
It’s marvelous the way God brings people together! Sometimes you don’t even know how important a friendship is to you until years later…but He was able to see everything it would bring you. This post is beautiful!
I 100% agree!
Valerie Geary says
This post made me get all teary-eyed!! Such a beautiful dedication story!
“Good work is often hard work”–I love this too.
I’ve thought of writing this up for a year now. It was extra special to run.
renee @ FIMBY says
what a beautiful tribute to a dear friend and story of friendship.
Jess Townes says
What a lovely tribute to your friendship! I know this kind of friendship well and am immeasurably blessed for it. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing your book!