A best friend is someone who loves you all the time, through the good and the bad. They are easy to talk to. They love you when you make mistakes, they help you up when you fall, and they are ALWAYS there for you. If you can find a person (s) to call a best friend, I'd say you are pretty lucky.
My Grammy and Grampa are two of my best friends. They have been the ultimate support and role models for me for the past eleven years. They also gave me two of the most precious gifts they could: the ability to play the violin, and unconditional love.
I didn't get my grandparents in the usual way. My grandparents adopted me into their lives. I met them when I was sixteen, and from that day on, we were family. When I moved away at age twenty, we set up a weekly phone date. We have kept that date for the past seven years. I visit once a year around Christmas. When I go, it's like I am royalty. They decorate and cook and then make me sit and eat a ton of delicious food. We hang out and then they shower me with gifts. We play music and dance. They have my pictures all over the walls and they sing my praises (they give me way more credit than is due). And when I go home, they mail me letters and cards and Starbucks giftcards (they truly know the way to my heart.... ;))
My Grammy and Grampa have always been there for me, no matter what I am going through. They have never judged me or criticized me. They never made me feel stupid or tried to guilt me into making the right decisions. They just gave me unconditional love. And after my mistakes, when life left me battered and bruised, they were right there to take care of me. I can tell them anything, good or bad, and I know that they will love me through it. They never tell me NOT to do something. (I am a stubborn person. I don't like to be told what to do. If you tell me not to do something, or that I "can't" do something, you can be sure I will do it.) They just love me and pray for me and stand beside me.
Six years ago, when I was dating Abe, I brought Abe on a nine hour drive to meet them for their approval. Abe passd with flying colors of course, and my Grammy still talks about it to this day. "I felt so honored that you wanted our opinion! I remember when you first brought him over here, and I thought, he is tall, tall, TALL!!!! And I knew he was a good boy right away! I mean, the way he treated you was just like how Grampa treats me. And you always said you wanted a man like Grampa. And we've been praying for that for you since you were sixteen! And he was so polite and nice, and I knew he was going to be a good one!!!!"
When Abe and I announced that we were adopting, and most of the world thought we were crazy and laughed in our faces, my grandparents rejoiced. They never told us we were too young, didn't have enough money, hadn't been married long enough, had too much debt, should finish school first, should have biological children first, shouldn't get two kids, should buy a house first, shouldn't adopt because "those" children have problems/emotional issues/aids, etc. No. They were HAPPY for us and supportive and they gave us courage. I don't know if they were ever worried when we told them we were adopting, but they never tried to talk us out of it, and they were truly excited and happy for us.
At one point during a weekly call several years ago, my Grampa asked how our adoption finaces were, and I told him we were struggling to come up with the first big payment. Without my knowledge, my grandparents and their church raised money for the adoption. And they paid off our ENTIRE HOMESTUDY. People, we are talking about over $3,000. From a church who basically didn't know us, but who loved us because they love my grandparents. It was SUCH a huge encouragement. And this church continued to pray over us and our adoption with my grandparents for THREE YEARS.
My grandparents used to ask every week how the adoption was going. For the first year. The second year, they barely asked. I brought it up once, at the beginning of the third year, and my Grampa said, "I'm always afraid to ask you. I'm afriad if I don't ask, you will think I don't care, but I know if I do ask, you will cry if you haven't heard anything, and I don't want you to cry." (When we finally got our referral, then our court date, and then our embassy date, we had a screaming party on the phone. :))
I recently took the kids to visit them. We pulled up to find that the house was still fully deocrated (inside and out) for Christmas, just for the kids. It was beautiful. My grandparents were thrilled to see us and we spent five hours playing and talking.....and eating, of course. (Zahria STILL asks me everyday, "Mommy, choc-co-lot?? Puuh-LEASE????" referring to a chocolate peanut-butter pie that they made us, and Levi will say, "Grampa and Grammy are FUN!!!" They gave the kids presents and they let them play with everything in the house. The fish, turtles, the dog. The bric-a-brac. (I didn't even know that word was in my vocabulary until it typed itself....) All the talking/walking/dancing Christmas toys. A keyboard, a snare drum, a guitar. (It was definitely a "joyful" noise..and a LOUD one.) My kids LOVED their new Grammy and Grampa. Like L-O-V-E-D. And vice versa. On our weekly phone date afterwards, my Grampa confided, "We missed them as soon as you guys walked out the door.......we really love those kids of yours! They're terrific!" and my Grammy said, "I want to steal them from you, but then you would be sad, and you worked SO hard to bring them home...." Thank you for not stealing them, Grammy. :)
So my point of this post is this: unconditional love is encouraging. Uplifiting. Can keep a person out of dangerous water. Can help miracles take place. Unconditional love is a balm to a hurting person and a pillar to a confident one. So please go out today, and BE unconditional love.