An Open Letter to My Best Friend

Dear Karen,

In less than two weeks you graduate from college. And while I’m still baffled at how you managed to turn three changes of major into a degree in only seven semesters, I am so proud of you. I’m proud of you for letting your patience be stretched, for crossing the Mississippi, for keeping lists of books and movies, for knowing a whole different language, for quickly moving from dislike of avocadoes to a long, loyal infatuation with them, for being brave, for following your passionate love of purple wherever it leads you, and for always, always reaching out to those around you.

This January you’re going to Haiti for just a bit, and in the fall you are most likely headed to Hungary to teach English, but for the spring and summer, you will be at home, working and reading and waiting in the in-between. In the spirit of Mandy and Nancy’s detective notebook in days of yore, here are some things to do:

-Watch The Graduate exactly once and learn from Ben’s mistakes.

-Make at least two new friends.

-Visit me.

-Read all the Lord Peter Wimsey novels.

-Forget about being edgy. Remember about being kind.

-Make a t-shirt quilt.

-Use the word “wretched” when you feel angsty. It will make everything funnier.

-Re-read The Hiding Place as many times as necessary.

-Take your parents out for ice cream.

-Get that haircut you were wanting.

-Take walks in my neighborhood and hang out with my family.

-Give thanks.

-Buy dishes.

-Go hiking with me.

-Do that much-needed reconnaissance on Ballinger.

-Remember that the amount of frustration you feel when people don’t call or text or love you back is miniscule compared to how much of Jesus’ love you have yet to encounter.

-Don’t treat the next few months like waiting. Treat them like a worthwhile part of your life that God has actual, important plans for.

Last week I showed up at your front door to get you and watched as you chased your old Chocolate-puppy down the block in the rain, alternately expressing your awful anger at him and offering him cheese. I couldn’t stop laughing. Actually, I still can’t. Sorry for letting him out. But thanks for being the best person I know to be grumpy with.

For the record, you are also one of my favorite people to be happy with, to drive with, to talk on the phone with, to plan with, to buy dinner for. And even if we never get to realize together the dreams of going to England, or solving a grand mystery, or driving cross-country, or finally finding that fourth grade picture of us in our matching American flag bathing suits, please remember that I love you, Ka-ren. I’ve probably said that to you multiple times a week since middle school, often out of habit, but it’s always, always true. Thanks for the years of voicemails.

LYLAS forever and forever, no matter how bad my handwriting gets,



I loved this day. This was a great day.


6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Best Friend

  1. Alice, you are making me cry, and I am in a very crowded library. I love you soo much. I’m so thankful for fourth grade and the start of our friendship. I will print this out and cherish it forever, just as I will cherish the day our non-existent grandchildren are forced to meet.

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