amaranthine

“Audge, you wanna go for a run?”

I couldn’t comprehend this question. A run? But, why? Like, for fun? In this heat?

“Um…I guess. I’ll just follow you.”

So we took off. No music, just one another’s company. We ran through the resort, down the harbor, around the marina, and finally, we reached the pier.

Breathless, sweaty, free.

We locked eyes, and he flashed that tremendous grin at me. We began surveying the stillness of the early morning waves, the vastness of the dawning horizon, and I remember thinking, “I feel so alive.”

How small we were, sitting on the edge of the Atlantic, but my, how big we felt. Our young hearts wildly beating in our chests, regaining our composure as we contemplated God’s miraculous creation together; silent, serene.


This is my first memory of enjoying running. Nine years, three half marathons, and thousands of miles later, this feeling of freedom that running brings me still exists, even on the hardest of runs.

I have a fire in my bones that I learned to feel the first time I ran; I felt untouchable, unbreakable, no matter the circumstances. {Running is a great parallel to the journey of life. But that’s a post for another day.}

Over the years, I have also learned to thrive off of this freedom & passion that I feel from running and apply it to life in general.

I have a special soul to thank for this.

But unfortunately, he is no longer with us.

My dear friend {and first-ever boyfriend}, Chase Sharrett, tragically passed away on June 10 of this year.

He was my first kiss, my first looooove, the first person outside of my family that I could be fully “me” with. The only man besides my husband who I went on a vacation with. Most of my adolescent memories involve him. We were young, and we had our issues {as all young relationships do}, but we did love each other.

After the break up, we lost touch for a few years, intentionally. We both moved on. But in my early college years, we reconnected. Those old feelings of “young love” turned into mutual respect and appreciation of one another, which turned into a great friendship.

We became close friends in our adult years.

No matter what was going on, no matter how long it had been since our last conversation, I could call or text him any time, day or night, just to talk, and he would always listen; he would always find a way to make me laugh.
I was often impressed by how well he could validate my feelings, while also acknowledging the reality of the situation, even if it was something I didn’t want to hear.

He was there for me during the darkest times of my difficult journey at the beginning of 2016, {y’all, it was rough, especially with my hospitalizations/failing health} and he always pointed me back to Christ and to my husband, no matter how hard my heart was. He was supposed to come visit this summer, to finally get to meet Brian, to see Tuscaloosa.

But now we will never have that chance.

 
When I reflect on his life and his friendship, one word in particular continues to surface: devoted. He was the truest of friends, and the most genuine human being I had ever known.

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So here I sit. My first time back at the pier since you’ve been gone. The same stillness exists, but this time, it’s somehow different. It feels hollow.

That wild, passionate feeling of freedom is clouded.
And as my tears fall, and my heart aches, I can’t help but to feel gratefulness.

 
This vacation has been hard because you are all around. I have the fondest memories of exploring this island with you, and I’ve been seeing you everywhere I go.

 
I know you are here with me. I know you are watching over me. And I know I will see you again when I go to Glory. That doesn’t seem to minimize my own grief and the grief that I feel for your sweet, hurting mother, sister, and family. But it surely makes me feel grateful to know that this is not the end.

This is not where your story ends. Your story lives on in the people who knew you and adored you.

Thank you, friend, for making this pier my favorite place in the world; my safe haven. You had a knack for appreciating the details and for living in the moment. I embrace these lessons you taught me, and I carry them in my heart always.
“And I could not ask for more.”

xo

Audge

 

amaranthine: unfading; everlasting; undying, eternally beautiful.