I'm going to take a minute to brag about my amazing friends...
This weekend, I have watched my friends take some pretty big steps, including graduation and baptisms. I watch them and I am so proud of the people they are, and I know they're headed for amazing things.
A few years ago I didn't think I would find friends like this. I remember telling my mom once that I didn't need friends, I was just fine on my own. And I did like isolation, because there wasn't this chance of being hurt. I was guarded and while it was lonely I thought it would hurt less.
I didn't believe in anyone, or anything. I was a mess (I'm still kind of a mess. I think I'll always be somewhat of a mess).
And then I came here. And I met people who proved to me that not all people are going to hurt me. I met people who loved me without knowing anything about me, who looked at me and didn't see all those things that had happened or all the labels I had had before.
And for the first time in a really long time, I started to let people in. I started to trust people again.
After I met these people, I had people that I knew would stand by me and love me (and weren't obligated to!)
I'm not going to say I made it easy. I spent years battling the monsters that lurked inside my own head. I'm still fighting those monsters. But my friends never gave up on me, and that means more to me than they'll ever know. From texts that said Get ready, we're going out to a group of them showing up on my doorstep and making me come out of the basement and actually do something and youth group events where I didn't want to go but ended up being so glad I did.
And when I started to isolate myself, I got the comments, "Hey, we missed you at youth group, you should come this Friday!" Most of the time I wouldn't listen, but sometimes I would.
My friends loved me back to life when I wanted to curl up in the corner and sleep my life away. They encourage me and support me and, I may be just a little biased when I say I think they are the best group of friends a person could ask for.
And now I'm watching as we all grow up; some graduating this year, some getting ready to enter our final year of high school, some just getting another year older. We're all getting ready to move on, spread our wings and learn how to fly.
When someone told me high school would be the best time of my life, I laughed. I didn't believe him.
And, in all honesty, high school has been hard. But the relationships I've made during these high school years have been priceless. These friends have become my family, and I know that wherever I go I'll always have them.
The best of times is always changing and while I wish I could freeze time and stay here forever, with these people I never thought I'd find, in this place I didn't know if I would ever be lucky enough to be at, life doesn't stop for anyone and this weekend has been proof of that. We just have to be ready, for a new best time.
I watched my friends graduate and get baptized and I can't help but be so so proud of them, of all of us, of the people we are becoming and where we are headed.
So, my friends, thank you. You all mean more to me than you'll ever know and I am so proud of each one of you. You guys are pretty awesome.
The future is coming, life isn't slowing down for anyone, and the best of times is now.