The fact that I have any authority to write on this topic at all is the privilege in and of itself. Not only am I a sister which means that I have a sibling but I have a sister which means I have had a best friend since I was two years, ten months, and six days old. And today just happens to be the anniversary of the birth of that sister and best friend.
Best friend doesn’t quite explain this relationship. What is the word?
Oh yeah, I guess sister IS the word. Best friends can change over the years. But a sister, a blood sister, that is a word, a relationship, an experience that I have the pleasure of trying to describe.
For starters, “sister” immediately reminds me of a song from the classic Christmas movie White Christmas. Sisters everywhere can relate to this song. “Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters…when a certain gentleman arrived from Rome, she wore the dress and I stayed home…” That line took on a whole new meaning when an actual gentleman did arrive from Rome. But that is another story.
My sister is Kelli. She is the best. And she drives me crazy sometimes. She is one of those people you think you know and out of nowhere she does something to surprise you.
Like call to tell you she is moving to Italy.
It was several years ago. I was running on a treadmill in Fort Collins, Colorado when she called to inform me she had decided to do mission work in Florence. Just short of telling her I thought it was a terrible idea, I tried to gracefully accept our new reality. At least she was going to get this out of her system. Or so I thought. Now more than five years since that phone call she STILL may be moving to Italy again sometime in the future. Italy is not the problem. The location of Italy compared to my house is the problem.
For those of you who know Kelli, you may think she isn’t much of a talker. You should have known her as a child. Or a teenager. She came to visit me my freshman year of college. Talking and smiling were not on her top ten list of favorite things which left me explaining to all my friends that it wasn’t them, it was her. I was certain I would drop her off in Little Rock and hope she could find her way home.
In elementary school we used to ride to gymnastics practice after school with one of my friend’s mom. I remember those days vividly. We would all stand on the curb outside the van and wait to pile in. One afternoon Kelli managed to plant her feet right in the middle of a bed of fire ants. After a few seconds she began crying and jumping about in an effort to remove the ants. I remember that helpless feeling of my sister being in pain, knowing there was nothing I could do, wishing it was me instead of her. Having a sister, especially a younger sister, evokes a protective instinct. To this day I want to protect her.
Contrary to popular belief, Kelli actually has many facial expressions. We laugh that she has “that face,” that face that when not smiling she looks upset…angry, really. One of my favorite expressions comes from a quivering above her eyebrows when she is confused, quickly followed by a furrowed brow.
When I am with Kelli, I immediately resort to being a child. She would deny it but she does as well. I still have to kill the bugs, make decisions about which color loofah to purchase, and say the prayer before meals. I also still feel the need to pick on her and annoy her as much as possible (which really isn’t too hard).
As children and as adults who still act like children, we love going to the Disney parks. My dad always wanted to take us to Washington D.C. but we insisted that Disneyland would be much better. One time we rode Splash Mountain twenty-one times in three days. Another time a few years ago we went to Disney World for a day, just the two of us, and stayed for fifteen hours. We love Disney.
Over the years I have seen a growing strength and concern for others that has deepened. Kelli loves people who do not know God. She loves people who are struggling with their faith. And sometimes both are people very close to her. She doesn’t want to act overly concerned but she is. She has patience with people who are abandoning the faith and befriends people who have never known Jesus.
One of the saddest days was when I told Kelli goodbye and moved to Arkansas for college. Little did I know that was the beginning of probably never living in the same town as her again. I don’t like reading that in black and white. It is a heavy thought for me. The sadness, however, also carries with it joy because these emotions remind me that I am close with my sister.
When I sat down to write about why I love having a sister, all of those random stories kept coming to mind. And those finally led me here to the top reasons I love having a sister…why I love having Kelli as my sister.
- Memories. There are many people who may remember the stories I told or have other memories with Kelli. But I am the only one who gets to remember them from a sister perspective.
- You get each other. I will sometimes try to explain how I feel about a situation but the words will not come. But Kelli gets it. Sisters get it. No explanation needed.
- You always have someone to laugh with. Kelli makes me laugh harder than just about anyone I know. There are just those situations when only your sister can make you laugh and only your sister can understand why you are laughing.
- No filter is required. My husband will sometimes give me advice about how to talk to Kelli. Just short of saying, “You don’t have a clue,” I am quick to inform him that I know my sister better than just about anyone. Honestly, if we spoke to others the way we speak to each other at times, we wouldn’t have many friends. Remember, we still act like children when we are together. But how refreshing to just be real and know you will still love and be loved at the end of the conversation!
- Aunts are the best. Since becoming a mom, Kelli and I have become even closer. There is nothing like seeing her interact with my daughter, knowing she loves her deeply and knowing that Annabelle has Kelli as her auntie. I am confident that no matter the distance, Kelli will be a godly woman that AB will admire, look up to and go to for advice.
- Sisters in Christ are doubly blessed. Having a sister on this earth is a tremendous blessing. But more than that, having Kelli as a sister in Christ is the ultimate gift from a sister. This world is not our home. One day Jesus will come back and I know where one of the dearest people to me will spend eternity. I don’t know if we will recognize each other in heaven, but I know she will be there because she knows Jesus.
A physical sister and more importantly a spiritual sister. This…this is hands down the best part of Kelli. I remember vividly the day she was baptized and I knew her eternity was changed. As I said, she wasn’t much of a talker when we were younger, and I never quite knew where she stood. But now, in large part due to the experience that followed the news I received that day on the treadmill, Kelli is deeply rooted in her faith. We share our spiritual selves even more than our physical selves.
So, while sister is a word to describe this relationship, for me, the word I was searching for was there all along. The word’s connotation is unique to my understanding.
Kelli. Yes, that is my sister word. And I am honored to be the one who claims her as my sister.