Friendships can be tricky. As I get older, I ponder my friendships and what they mean to me. There is one such friend I feel compelled to talk about because she has made a tremendous impact on the blueprint of my own life. I am very lucky to be her friend.

Once upon a time Kerry and I were neighbors. Our paths intersected about 3 1/2 years ago because of our passion for running. We ran at least 3 times a week and talked about the substance of our lives. In our time together, I really learned about Kerry’s gracious spirit. She is a wife and mother of four lovely girls. Her youngest daughter, Reese, at two weeks of age, was diagnosed with Aicardi’s Syndrome, a condition in which the structure that connects the right and left brain is absent. The symptoms of this syndrome can be severe, ranging from daily seizures to susceptibility to pneumonia and other life threatening illnesses. Often times, during our runs, Kerry would tell me that she would be up all night caring for Reese, but still be ready for a run at 5:30 in the morning. Despite her lack of sleep, our conversations would be upbeat and positive, often covering our perspectives on God, goodness, and the need to carry our lives with genuine compassion for ourselves and others. There were many sleepless runs and during the duration of those, I never once heard Kerry complain or ask the question, “Why me?”

In the years that I’ve known Kerry, I’ve truly learned about grace. Even in crisis, she is abundantly thankful for the blessings she has in her life. She’s taught me, in one of the most difficult times in my life, how to build a pathway of forgiveness. She’s counseled and guided me through the trenches, telling me to peek at the goodness even when I couldn’t see it myself. And everyone needs this kind of friend, one that shows by her own actions that grace can be practiced by everyday actions. By refusing to judge. By learning to forgive. By concentrating on goodness.

I am so thankful for her presence in my life. And deeply grateful. Lots of love to you my dear dear running buddy and good friend. Thank you for inspiring me to strive for grace.