Caitlin Barnes,

I already know this won't be the first time I write about you. 

Talk about LIFE LONG FRIENDS. I can still imagine little us. You had those awkward narrow glasses that I was probably jealous of because, well, I love glasses. And my teeth were massive and sticking out in every direction.

But I'm not here to talk about our everlasting friendship. You and I both know it will last an eternity.

Rather, I want to highlight how unexpectedly meaningful our conversation was yesterday.

I tend to always ask myself 'why?' I'm consistently wondering why things are a certain way or why I do this or that or why we exist, blah blah blah. Life seems meaningless if we don't have a 'why' to cling to. 

But yesterday, you reminded me that sometimes God doesn't want us to know 'why'. He just wants us to trust in His goodness, believe that He desires to see victory in our lives, and know that He loves us unconditionally. He's not around to pull us out of the grey areas. 

And so sometimes life is sucky. And I mean, awful. It doesn't go the way we hoped it would and asking ourselves 'why?' provides zero comfort. But Caitlin, you're endlessly rooted. You're unwavering (or at least seem that way) as you face life's hills and valleys. You love your family so well and you work hard, unlike anything I've seen before. Your resilience and adaptability seem limitless.

This blog is all about gratitude. You've taught me time and time again to just be thankful. To look around at what I DO have and show appreciation. Stop asking 'why?' and rest in thankfulness.

Thank you for teaching me something new just when I think i've learned everything I can from you (HAHA, like that's EVER possible. Who am I kidding?).

Thank you for fighting for the important things in life, even when they're not so easy to love.

Thank you for showing me that gratitude doesn't need to come from a place of perfect circumstances.

Thank you for putting effort into our friendship. Trust me, I know this isn't easy, especially when someone moves across the country.

Thank you in advance for the laughs we'll have in the nursing home.

While I'm mildly upset you got married before our "fine, I guess we can just settle for each other" age (what was it, 27? HA), I still love you with every fiber of my being.