I met Katie Nelson when I was roughly eight years old. She was seven, strong willed, and possessed a knack for annoying the living snot out of me. I was obnoxious, just as strong willed and short tempered. Needless to say, strife ensued. In fact, the very first time we met we got into a fight. (According to Katie I hit her first. But I would like to point out there was due provocation.)
We were both homeschooled, our mothers knew each other, and we had the same mutual friends. These things made it impossible to avoid each other. We were invited to the same parties, attended the same homeschool events, we even went to the same Bible study. Everywhere I went she was there! And if we did not ignore each other, every meeting ended in some new squabble.
In the midst of our childhood conflicts, my mother started working two mornings a week. Her mother was so kind as to offer to babysit us for those two mornings. Our attempts to avoid each other were completely destroyed by the fact that we were now forced to spend ten hours a week in the company of the other. These ten hours became a fabulous platform for our fiendish little minds to torture the other.
Katie and I left each other hate notes, tried to exclude the other from every activity, had name calling contests, held heated debates over who was the better christian, and got into fist fights, moss fights and mud fights over the stupidest things imaginable. And that's not all. We enjoyed the same things; Music, theatre, drawing, calligraphy,and poetry and bible memorization. She and I were both highly competitive we were constantly trying to out do the other.
This went on for years. Our friends and our families had to listen to us continually rant about how horrible the other one was and all their attempts to reconcile us failed miserably.
I remember once that Katie and I got into a fight and our punishment was having to write Proverbs 17:14 until a piece of notebook paper was full. The result? Katie purposefully wrote in LARGE letters so as to fill up her paper faster. I ended up writing it twice as many times as she did.
I'm not sure when exactly it happened. When we stopped hating each other. Nor am I sure when we began to find the other tolerable. I'm even less sure when we started liking each other's company. But at some point it happened. I credit it to her being less of a brat. She credits it to me being less bossy. We both credit it to the amazing grace of God.
Instead of avoiding each other we learned to enjoy each other's company. We stopped making everything we did a competition and actually learned things from each other. Somehow we got past the things that made us hate each other and found that we'd been missing out on a pretty cool friendship.
When I moved away to Oregon Katie became a faithful letter writer. Her correspondence was such an encouragement to me, especially the first year I lived in Oregon when I didn't know anyone. We have written each other hundreds of letters since then and I still get excited when I find an envelope with her handwriting on it in the mailbox.
Katie has wanted to be a writer ever since our days of combat. She works really hard and her writing just gets better and better. She encourages me to write, even though I'm rarely happy with the results of my labours. Katie remains one of the very few people I will allow to read and critique anything that I've written.
Today Katie turns eighteen. So here's wishing a very happy birthday to a very dear friend.
With love, Lizzie