LJ Idol Season Six Week 6: Sunrise: Ode to a Friendship

December 5, 2009 § 4 Comments

When I look to the east to observe the sunrise, I think of someone who experienced that rising many hours before me. Someone who epitomizes sunshine, hope and joy. One of my best friends in the whole wide world, Christianna Acabee Whitekettle.

I met Christi at sixteen in 1992 when my family first moved to this area. It was the middle of the summer, and I joined the marching band as color guard. Christi was the first to extend a diplomatic hand, and immediately invited me over to her house for a pool party. She’s just like that, ever the one to make folks feel welcome and comfortable.

Before school even began I amassed a huge pool of friendships– partly through band, but mostly through Christi. It made starting my school year as an incoming junior at a new school less awkward. I had acceptance and solid relationships, mainly thanks to my new-found friend.

As I came to know her, I discovered that Christi was a bright, joyful, faithful, caring, if quirky individual, which suited me just fine as quirks are my thing. She did crazy things like glue $5 worth of quarters to cardboard to spell out a birthday greeting (which made for hours of fingernail fun trying to unstick all the money) or hosting White Elephant parties at Christmas (you bring any old random or bizarre gift wrapped elaborately and everyone picks gifts by lot, or swaps them until each person has one– at the end you all unwrap and see what you got. I got a Lobster shaped apron. Which I still have.)

Christi has a manner that is disarming, charming, and ridiculously genuine. Her faith in Christ has always been hardcore, without being obnoxious or in your face– she embodies that old quote, “At all times preach the Gospel; sometimes even use words…”

She has always been a sympathetic ear and someone to whom you feel compelled to spill your guts every time you are in her presence. This became a problem after a while when I realized that every time we got together–no matter how hard I tried, we always ended up talking about only me, and I would walk away feeling like I had somehow missed learning about what she was going through. But eventually, we came to a point of being able to both share from our hearts our struggles, hopes and fears.

As adults, we became roommates, and let me tell you, it was like living in a Disney movie. Imagine if Snow White and Cinderella moved in together. It was like that. We sang all day long while we cleaned the apartment, made dinner, washed dishes… Everything from Broadway to pop to arias. Once while chatting online with a friend in Israel, we broke into song, much to my long-distance friend’s surprise. She’d never been serenaded online before.

Living together wasn’t always sunshine and lollipops, but it was overwhelmingly joyous and pleasant. We became even closer confidants and prayer partners, and I believe we both grew stronger and deeper in our faith for the experience.

In 2007, Christi followed the call to missions and started a new life in Rwanda where she has help begin a co-op called Azizi Life (the website for which is still under construction.) It’s been sad having my friend so far away, but she comes back home for the holidays, and today I will see her for the first time in a year at a party at her house.

Ah, my Christi, how I love thee! God has taught me joy in pain, gentleness in wrath, and the power of hope in all things through you! My I have half the light of Christ you emanate so naturally and simply! God bless you my friend!


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