When I first met Sarah it was in a new group of people just after I had moved to Portland. I was finding my way in this new city and she was one of the first people I felt I had an immediate connection with. I later remarked that she and I were very similar and saw us becoming good friends. Sometimes you simply know the amazing people in your life when they enter it, and my conviction in Sarah and our burgeoning friendship never wavered.
We became very close when I lived with her and her husband-elect for a few weeks in the summer of 2011. I was set adrift, a blubbery walrus dealing with emotional pain, and the two of them took me in, gave me a place to sleep, puppies to snuggle with, and even barbecued yak meat. When I eventually got some pieces of my life together, moving out of her home was a painful experience for both of us. In true avoidance fashion, I packed my meager belongings in the middle of the day and left when no one was home, because I couldn’t bear the idea of that chapter of our friendship ending. She and Greg saved my life for those few weeks, they kept me mildly sane, and taught me that I would eventually be OK.
Sarah’s sense of empathy is overflowing. She is the first one to emphatically ask “how are you?!”, and she always expects an honest answer. She is keenly observant of everyone around her, she is supportive, and she always helps me to see another perspective. I value her opinion immensely, and have asked her countless times what I should do to solve a problem. And she almost always responds with “I can’t answer that for you,” but I’ve come to learn this means she will not give me the answers, but she will help me find my own answer. She has the hindsight, experience, and maturity to know that finding my own truth is more important than simply having an answer.
We’ve shared a lot over the two years. Some moments have been exceptionally honest and painful, but filled with growth. Others have been downright silly; and include the Warrior Dash, concerts, food, wine, and games. I know that Sarah will always be the first to giggle, she will fill her cup too full and spill water everywhere, and she blames her inability to understand middle school humor on not riding on the school bus. She has her own language that I’ve carefully learned to decipher, and I feel I’m coming close to fluent; “Delicatessen” is “delicacy”, “gobquackbokbok” is “turducken”, and many, many more.
I’m lucky she’s included me in my life, and I’m reminded of this every time we burst into a laughing fit, and every time she asks “how are you?” Few people have pushed me to be better than I am, and it’s because Sarah has the empathy, insight, and loyalty to create friendships that are lasting, authentic, meaningful, and balanced. I love her dearly, because I am her Medium Arf, and she is my Little Arf.