The story of finding my Sam is basically all I need to remember God has a plan for our lives and man, is it good. Our story isn’t one that begins with instant connection or common ground. We didn’t hate each other and suddenly realize we should be best friends. We were just people who, by the grace of God, found each other and He worked out everything else.
Before I begin, let me describe what having a Sam means for your life, so you can understand the idea. Best friend is a description casually assigned to a lot of people that you may enjoy spending time with and may know all of your secrets. You hear people use this a lot, and sometimes I wonder how many best friends a person can have (I’m not saying there should be a limit, of course).
But a Sam is different.
A Sam is someone who is your person, your actual person. Not the person you latch onto because you WANT a person. As Emily Bronte describes it, whatever souls are made of, yours and your persons are the same (adjusted for my purposes). By my estimation you can only have one of these people in your life because they will understand you so thoroughly and so terrifyingly that more than one may overwhelm you. It is the person who always sees right through you, tells you when you’re being an idiot and never wavers in love and support.
That’s abbreviated of course. Now back to the story.
My first memory of Sam is her backpack. I was the nerd in class ready to crush freshman year with my Jansport classic and she had a corduroy backpack covered in flowers, probably purchased from somewhere hip like PacSun. She was there in my first college class, and she had a cool backpack.
One of the first things I said to her was I like your sweater. This was a few months later and we were standing outside a professor’s office. It was very nautical with red, white and blue stripes and gold buttons. I now possess this sweater, almost eight years later.
During bingo night in the Beehive (our cafeteria alternative), she was there with a bunch of people I kind of knew. She was wearing a giant sweatshirt and proudly owned the fact she wasn’t wearing a bra. I was partly mortified and partly in awe of this hero among women.
In our second semester, we had back to back classes and a mutual friend who sat between us. There was the occasional lunch and conversation, but nothing substantial. It wasn’t until an early morning drive and a rooming snafu that our paths truly crossed.
As you can tell, I could spend endless amounts of time describing the interesting events that brought us together and the relationship that developed. We became roommates for our sophomore year and strangely decided to have the same class schedule. She arrived on campus before me and when I got there, told me one night she was sure someone was breaking in but it was just a soda that exploded in the fridge. This is one of our earliest stories and still one of my favorites. She just waited in bed assuming she was about to be killed.
Back on track.
It’s been more than seven years since we became roommates. I’m not sure when we became best friends, but it slowly built until one day we just were. I think I like that best about us. We just were. We weren’t each other’s first roommate so the pressure to be best friends wasn’t there. By that point we had mostly established our own identities on campus. We weren’t desperate freshmen adding everyone on Facebook. We didn’t need each other then, but I definitely need her now.
She’s the person I can completely open my soul to – the good and the bad. I can tell her anything and trust that she will be there. I can try to lie to her and know she won’t tell me she actually knows better. Love is patient, love is kind, and love is my Sam.
The greatest gift she’s given me is acceptance. All my life I’ve worried if people still liked me, or if I annoyed them too much, or if I said too much. I meet people and leave feeling terrified, even if it went well, because the record plays of all the reasons why they shouldn’t like me. Even conversations with friends I know well can put me in a spiral because I’m never sure where I stand or if maybe this time I’ve been too much.
I never feel that way with my Sam.
It doesn’t matter if I’m in the middle of a breakdown, saying the same realizations I’ve had a thousand times before but still not changing anything. I can be completely delusional or in denial of how I actually feel. I can be condescending or self-righteous. I can be the worst version of myself around her, but I know I none of that will change how much she loves me.
What having a person means is true, unconditional love. Love like Jesus. Even if we’re both busy and we don’t talk as much as we used to, I still know how she feels. I can see her pursue different interests that maybe I don’t like and know she will still love painting her nails and going shopping with me. Our friendship isn’t jealous of other friends, because even when I see her with someone else a lot, I know how she feels because she tells me and makes me feel that no matter, it’s still me.
This is why someday our husbands will die and we will buy a house in the Hamptons, fill it with cats and raccoons and live out our days together. There is no better future.
The best advice I can give everyone is find your Sam. When you do, you will never be the same. She will challenge you and make you a better human bean. She will help you understand just how much God loves you and the way He loves us. Find your person who will still love you when you text her on her birthday to call her rude because she responded to your sister’s text and not yours.
Find your Sam, but don’t stress the people who won’t be. You’re not going to miss who God puts in your life, trust me. I didn’t find Sam. God brought her to me and made sure I wouldn’t miss out on the amazing adventure of being her best friend, her person, her soulmate.
I thank my God every day He gave me Sam.