Then I'm out of place"
It was so, so cold. I was tired of it being cold. February was being mean and it was painful just to be near an open door.
I was starting to get to know Nadia and we walked through her door together - well, I walked and she rolled.
"You know what? I am pretty sure that the house God is preparing for me in heaven is a beach house. I really hope I have a beach house" I optimistically said.
"Ha! A beach house? I am hoping for my own island!" Nadia practically yelled. She leaned back in her wheelchair and closed her eyes. "A warm island and I am going to run in the sand." She smiled. I blinked. She sighed. I got shivers. Her eyes twinkled. And mine teared up.
There are some people God puts in your life that just absolutely, completely blow you away. My dear, dear friend Nadia is one of those people.
Being disabled since birth, Nadia hasn't had an easy life. She told me once that when she was growing up she always thought she would get better. She was sure that by the time she was 13 she would be like the other kids. Ok, maybe by 16. Or 18. I was crushed to dust listening to her talk.
Nadia's body never became like "the other" kids. Actually, I would go as far as to say her character and personality aren't like "the others" either.
Because I have never met any other person in my 18 years that is so happy. Oh man. Nadia is such a happy lady.
Most of my friendship with Nadia has been spent laughing and laughing. Laughing at Brian Regan, laughing at my (really, really funny) jokes, laughing at Jon & Kate + 8, laughing at stories from her work, laughing when I break her house, laughing at everything and nothing.
And Nadia longs for heaven like no one I know. As much as she has done in her life - graduated from two schools with two degrees, owns her own apartment, works at the Department of Labor in Washington DC - she is so not satisfied with this world. She honestly beams at the thought of heaven.
And Nadia isn't just happy. She is filled with a joy that comes only from God. And I know it comes from God. Because there is no way that anyone could go through what she does daily, and have such an amazing attitude about it. Just a few months ago she broke her leg right in the midst of an extremely hard time at work, and people had said some very, very unkind things to her. I felt so helpless watching her be in so much physical and emotional pain. I couldn't believe that all of that was really happening. We cried and cried together. I was at a loss. And I watched this hero of a woman turn her tears into a crying out to God. She "presses on toward the goal for the prize." She works and works, and jumps hurdle after hurdle, and sprawls out in her Father's arms.
Nadia, being your friend is seriously one of the best parts of my life. I look back on so many memories - singing in your kitchen, falling off your couch ("Your couch is a stinkin' roller coaster!"), taking photobooth pictures, falling asleep watching TV, being llama's, using your GROSS milk ;) and not painting your room a sea-foam green.
Thank you for letting me rattle on and on about my life.
Thank you for giving me godly advice.
Thank you for opening up yourself to me.
Thank you being such a prayer-warrior.
Thank you for being a light - a bright, bright light - for God.
God is using your life, Nadia, in so many ways. I don't know how to thank you without being cliche. But you have impacted my life more than you will ever know. I daily - even hourly - think about you and things you have taught me - both in your words and actions.
You are an unbelievable woman, my friend.
Someday can I come play on your island with you?