Tonight my heart is overflowing with love and gratitude. With an overwhelming amount of acknowledgment for the blessings in my life and the purpose of them.

Seven years ago I took my first steps into an old, smelly, absolutely incredible junior high school. I couldn't have even begun to imagine the types of people I would meet or the friends I would make. But let me tell you. In those three years of awkward stages and growing up, I was blessed with some of the most amazing people in my life. With those people came unexplainable memories, trust, and so much love.

A few years later, I entered the high school alongside my favorite people. And lo and behold, our little friend family grew. With every laugh, every hug, every inside joke, it grew. And it grew and it grew and it grew. Once again, I was blessed with an amazing support group who was just as silly as they were serious.

I can't begin to tell you the love and gratitude that formed in my heart for those people. Sure, there were rough times, but never without a wonderful experience to take over.

Fast forward a few more years. These outstanding people, the ones I had come to adore, were leaving. One by one they flew to different parts of the world. One by one they began a journey of sharing happiness, and one by one I came to love them more. 

I would (and still do) go to pick up my phone and text them something that made me think of them, something that I was feeling, and something that only they would understand. I would do this only to be struck with the fact that they would never recieve the text message I was sending. Why? Because they were out serving the Lord. They were growing.

So here I am. A couple years later, and they have started to return home. My heart could not be any fuller. The conversations I once thought were deep, have matured. The love I had for them has multiplied ten fold along with my appreciation for their friendships. 

Now, in a month it will be my turn to leave. I will not recieve their spur of the moment text messages, I won't experience school moments or crazy adventures with them, but I will love them more. I will understand their motivation, and I will come to recognize so much more.

Tonight, as I sat in the home of one of my first junior high friends, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with gratitude. We laughed, we had deep conversations, but most importantly, we came together once again. 

I wish more than anything words could express the feelings of the heart. I wish they could understand how truly thankful I am. The words of advice, the concern, the support... The Savior sent these extrordinary people into my life to teach me the greatness of friendship; to show me that the world has a brilliant light in the midst of darkness. And for that? For that I am speechless in the most perfect way.

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