Today marks the first Sunday of Advent, a time which symbolizes, among other things, light. How appropriate that this time reminds me of my former roommate, friend, and “Spiritual Running Buddy,” Jackie O. Jackie loves Advent, and through her passion for this time of year, I have grown to love it as well.
Jackie and I met because Craigslist is run by wizards, and we quickly discovered that not only were our fathers close mirrors of one another, but were destined to be roommates. Let me tell you about the moment I knew our friendship was sealed. I had made a comment about a moment in the obscure and so-bad-it’s-good film adaptation of The Babysitter’s Club. Immediately, Jackie fell into role alongside me, pretending to be Stacy, who was having an episode with her blood sugar because of her diabetes, as Luca, her crush from Switzerland, panicked.
Truly, it was meant to be.
My first year in New York was one of the most challenging I’d ever faced, and Jackie was one of the only reasons I didn’t catch the next Bolt Bus to New Jersey. She listened while I angrily criticized the city she loves so dearly, understood when I was not in the mood to talk, watched Project Runway when I needed a break. We shared our love of Trader Joe’s, a good bargain, and ruminated about life our coffee over breakfast each morning. We worked out together, missed our families together, laughed louder than usually appropriate in public places. She saw me through that first year, and on the other side, I was able to stand tall because she had helped me up when I was afraid to stand.
I cannot sum up into words the incredible force that is Jackie O. She is strong and brave, putting herself out there fearlessly at each audition she attends. She is fiercely loyal, protecting those close to her and standing by those who need her most, even when she herself is grappling with a challenge. She has a deeply inspiring faith, one which in which she is not afraid to ask questions or love fearlessly, both in the darker and lighter times. Jackie is abundantly joyful, lifting any karaoke room, get together, or trying moment into the best part of your day. She has an infectious positive energy which leaves you feeling uplifted any time you speak to her. I’ve heard it remarked by people having just met her for the first time: “She loves life more than anyone I’ve ever met.”
Jackie is a light worker in this world, my friends. And so, I am doubly blessed when Advent time rolls around.
Jackie, I am so blessed to count you among my closest friends. Thank you for being there three years ago, today, and tomorrow. Love you, running buddy!