It is funny that we try to make sense of this life. I have learned that this understanding might not ever be possible.
(This summer I decided I will continue to live in Idaho. For... a while. I don't know how long. I was given the great gift of attempting to teach art at Liberty Charter School, my alma mater. We will go on a nice autumn break in three days following conferences, having completed 8.5 weeks. I feel challenged but overwhelmingly blessed to be learning in the environment I am, with the support I have.)
Most importantly, my life changed August 2 when my dear friend, Kris Jensen passed in a car accident. There is no way to explain loss as I am learning, but what I can explain are the reasons why I easily, without trying, love this beautiful friend.
Kris loves unconditionally.
From conversations with her and from watching her daily service of - running over at the last minute, loaning her precious vaccuum, stopping to split a meal, cleaning others' messes, listening to a long story, defending a student, or always putting herself last - I know she learned how to be this selfless by following our God. I also know that He gave Kris the natural ability and desire to live for others, it was just in her small, long bones.
Kris serves in this way with a contagious laugh, with beautiful eyes that laughed just as much, and the famous "crow" that would sneak out every know and then out of shock.
Kris enjoys every small joy. She and her family often say "It's good to be Kris" Boy is it. A cold Pepsi with the perfect ammount of ice, chocolate covered cinnamon bears, pollo rey and chapalas, and a routine Sunday dinner does Kris' soul good, but especially because she enjoys these treats with people she loves around the table. A dirty house excites Kris, all the more fun to clean well!
A couple years ago, Kris asked me to join her at 4:45am to drive to Boise to sit outside of the Record Exchange to buy Modest Mouse tickets that went on sale at 10am. Why wouldn't we?! Only seven people were able to buy tickets at this location and we were first in line. Kris is smart and more than willing to work for things she wants.
When I was in early high school Kris invited me to be her friend and a part of her family. What a gift! This gift will continue to influence who I am and the way I attempt to live. From Kris and her husband and five kids and extended family I learned the possibilities of how a family can choose to love daily. Kris doesn't sugar coat anything. Family and living isn't easy, but it's simple. Kris loves her family with all of her and her life was lived for them. I decided those first months of spending time with Kris and her family that I wanted to have a large family. Sure more to deal with, but more character, more love. Her love is so clear.
Kris was dancing with me on my first night of really dancing. She invited me to a house show at her son Jeremy's house, where he and also his brother Elijah and sister Rachael would be playing. Honestly dancing held a different definiton after that night. It is free. and funny. and free. and so much fun. Every show after this, at some point Kris would ask me, or sometimes just have to look over with her smile, or sometimes pull me out of my seat, to go dance. Even if there wasn't a floor. We were loving and feeling the music and wanted to express that and join the band in the fun. This dancing and experiencing joy with Kris while dancing will forever influence my happiness in a moment. Because of her I try to be present and just do what I am itching to do or say what I need to say.
This summer I would get a couple calls a week, sometimes at 9 or 10 saying, "Elijah is playing at the VAC, let's go!" or "Spondee (Noah's band) is playing at Flying M, you have to come!" or "I know I ask too much, but Jer is playing tomorrow night, will you come?" Kris supports her children and anyone she loves and wants to share that with everyone.
Oh I love her.
I am so blessed to see her most loved family almost every day, she would absolutely love the way her family has come together even more. She is missing out on her favorite kind of parties.
I have learned over and over just how far Kris' love and influence reached. So very far. What I know is that I didn't deserve her love, belief in me, trust, companionship, laughs, the splitting of enchiladas - but I received it. The honest gift of Kris I felt over and over and feel today. I can feel it. Which makes me not want to accept that my memories stop here. But I am also sure that a few weeks ago now, Kris would say, "Kylee, quit your boobin'. You have to enjoy all of this for me now!" She would not stand for me stopping. So that's what we are all trying to do.
I can't believe that I get to carry parts of Kris with me and am able to choose daily to deal with situations like she would.
My boss likes to say, "It will take at least a year to figure out all that Kris really did" She went completely beyond her job description and enabled our school to run. So on community service day with the high school last week I started walking with dread and complaining in my head that I was in charge of scrubbing the bottom of the dumpsters with a few pleased students. Before I could finish my really good, justified complaining to myself, I thought of the smile and honest excitement with which Kris would clean those dumpsters. Thank you Kris.
I don't get any of this.
But I thank God for my friend and her love and her life.