Lanterns in their history served, and continue to serve, the ultimate purpose. They were invented to be the source of light during the literal darkness. They were used to guide people, to lead people and to illuminate the path for others. They were needed illuminations. They were created in order to, "enable the portability of light". Meaning that they helped to transfer light from one place to another. They could be stationary or they could move. But regardless, they were consistent beams of light reminding people of the path.
I met Abby (also known as B) when I was a broken, lost, hurting senior in high school. I was involved in everything, a friend to many and yet I was at my lowest. I was a "functioning addict" in the purest sense of the phrase. I had lived in the hole of Anorexia for many years, including this one. I had friends who were candles (follow my analogy) all through my life. Candle-like friendships are kind, giving and all in. They illuminate and guide until they can no longer do those things-either because their candle is done, or maybe because yours is. I swam in a community of candle-like friendships. These friendships gave me laughter and love for seasons of my life. I loved the crap out of these seasonal friendships. But then God brought a lantern-like friendship into my life and I was overwhelmed. I hadn't known friendship like that before. B was, is and will continue to be my lantern. She is a lantern in the most beautiful, exuberant sense of the word. Like a lantern she brings light to darkness. I know this because she did this for me. When I was in the pits of Anorexia, God gave me a light out. Glennon Doyle Melton says it best in one of her books when she says, "Holes are good for making friends, and friends are the best fillers I've found yet. Maybe because other people are the closest we get to God on this side." This is B. She's a hole-filler (which I mean to sound sweeter than how it actually sounds) and a lantern. She illuminates the world with her overwhelming understanding and kindness. She, "enables the portability of light". She gives and graces the world with this illumination. She is incredibly intelligent and incredibly radiant. She leads with love-and she does a damn good job at it. She reminds people of where they're going and helps lead them through, not with dominance but with love. And because of the grace of our God, I was able to receive this illuminating friendship. A friendship that would pull me out of the darkness, and would save me from the hole of Anorexia. It was a friendship that would make me braver, bolder and kinder. B is an all- in best friend. A friend who, like lanterns often do, just sat with me and shined for me when I couldn't. A friend who taught me how to light my own lantern EVEN IF I had shaky hands. The times when I wasn't brave enough, she reminded me with kindness. A friend who guided me and loved me when I felt lost, alone and too broken to continue-and STILL continues to do so. She reminded me of my worth. She reminded me that my light was needed. She is also like a lantern in the sense that she moves. She moves and walks with me. When I don't remember the path, or am afraid of what's ahead, she shines a little brighter. And when she doesn't know the path ahead, I hurry and run to light it for her. She taught me how to be a lantern-like friend. The thing about light is, it doesn't stop. It's always there, always shining-NO MATTER WHAT. This is my sister. My sister who doesn't stop carrying her lantern for others. My sister who shines in a world full of darkness. My sister who illuminates the world with her genuineness, her ferocity, her intelligence and her raw ability to love. My sister is radiant. Without my sister, I would still be trapped in that dark hole. But instead, our God is a grace-giving God who saw me in my aching need and gave me a way out. He gave me a friend and a sister. He gave me a best friend who would pray with me and stay with me. One who always answers my phone calls, makes me cry laughing, loves The Office and Parks and Rec just as much as me, and one who is my actual twin (I think). B knew the path out of the hole would be long, full of rubble, defeat and scars and yet walked with me anyway. She continues the walk with me because she's the best friend I have ever known in my entire life.
I'm finding my life is a lot like National Treasure. It's a journey full of fear, anxiety and the unknown. But like Nicholas Cage, my journey is also full of friends, joy and lanterns. Friends who stick with me and guide me through, just like lanterns do-and just like B does.
Friends and lanterns make sense to me. Praise God for them and praise God for my best friend, B.
Keep loving your sisters today and always.