I don't make friends quickly or easily. I'm just a hair too introverted and smidge too self-contained to actively seek and make friends everywhere I go. Mary is arguably my most recent friend. I met Mary for the first time this summer, knowing that she was going "take my job". To say it took me a moment to warm up to her would be an understatement. There was a small (okay medium to medium large) part of me that wasn't excited for this relationship, because I knew that it meant the upcoming end of my tenure as director, a job I had wanted since I was a camper.
Not only did Mary inspire me to open up and get to know her wonderful, Jesus-lovin' self, but she also has easily become one of my closest friends. Camp. It does that to you. Makes complete strangers into people you can't image a week without speaking to. Mary is a saintly influence on me. She's taught to me to see the more conservative side of Catholicism with grace and understanding. Example? She receives communion on her tongue. When asked why, she told me that once she was told that our hands are sinful, I mean think about how much sinning we actually do with our hands. And I was in awe of that level of thought and intention she put behind how she received Christ at the Mass.
Mary is teacher and thinks that teaching children with disabilities is the best job in the world. She, just like Meagan and myself, love Harry Potter. She is also a St. Pope John Paul II groupy and is possibly the most patriotic person I know. She isn't known as A-MARY-ca for nothing.
It is critical to surround ourselves with those that bring us up, that wrap in God's love, and make us feel supported and precious each day. Without that kind of support, it is so easy for temptation and sin to sneak without us realizing it. We all need a Mary who inspires us to pray the Rosary on our way to work each day, because friends like that, they are the saintly inspirations in our day-to-day lives that help us walk a little closer to Christ.