This post is dedicated to Christina Andreadakis Montgomery.
I met Christina during my freshman year of college, when I was having a particularly hard time adjusting at BYU. I don't remember the first time we talked but I do remember distinctly the first time we bonded.
It was the night before Christmas break. I was busy packing for home, and was excited to be leaving my cramped dorm room for my home in Pennsylvania. Christina came into my room and we starting talking, about our hometowns, our families, and the break. About all the things that seem to matter but yet don't. Not really at least. I had put on a tough face during that semester to the outside world. I smiled, laughed, and talked with the friends I had made. But when my mom or dad or best friend would call, I would break down and cry and talk and cry more. I realize now that I was emotionally starved that first semester. I didn't have anyone I could talk to on my floor, or in my classes, about the things that mattered. With my family I had to let out all the things I had been wanting to say and all the thoughts I had wanted to share, but couldn't, since the last phone call.
That night I had my first real conversation with someone at college. We talked about choices, and mistakes, and imperfections. We talked about what we felt and what we hoped for. That night I talked from my heart and ignored my head. That night was the beginning of something great.
Five years later, that talk has multiplied into thousands of "heart to hearts". Because that's what they really are. With my heart touching yours and yours mine, we have talked through the days and the years. We have talked our way through graduation, and through your marriage. We have talked our way through our careers and have dreamed of our future lives. We have talked our way through a fair share of less than worthy boys and men, and through all the complications and heartaches that go along with love.
You showed me how to look for the less obvious treasures in life. To really listen to music. And to apply it all to life and how to live it. You have continually been a example to me of determination and hard work. You have shown me forgiveness is possible. That people deserve second and third chances. To not judge anyone. To persevere despite one's circumstances. To figure out what you believe, and to live it. And that sometimes, all we really need is for someone to listen to us.
Christina models her life around the idea that everyone deserves a chance, a chance to be heard, a chance to be loved, a chance to feel that they deserve something more than the cards life has dealt them.
Thanks, Christina. For always listening. For always being there. For loving me through it all. You are all that I could ask for in a friend. Love you! Happy late birthday!