Sadie, I've known you for five years and yet I haven't known you at all.
I could pick you out in a crowd, but I couldn't bring myself to compliment your outfit. I could follow your voice in a crowded room, but I couldn't walk up and say hello.
I haven't seen you in nearly a year. We haven't talked to each other in more time than that. I've always just sort of co-existed in the same church as you. We've been on camping trips and mission trips together, we've been in Bible studies together, but we've never really spoken.
Five years have passed. You, Sadie, have remained cheerful and friendly, compassionate and helpful. I have drawn farther back, terrified of my own bitterness and refusing to acknowledge my own emotional turmoil.
Today, on your first Sunday back home in nearly a year, the worship leader invited everyone to get up and greet those around them.
I saw you coming toward me and I extended my hand, fully expecting the typical quick handshake and a quick 'good morning' without even eye contact as we both search for the next person to greet.
You squealed my name and rushed at me with a hug. I only just managed to move my extended hand fast enough to not stab you in the stomach.
You know Sadie, I can't remember the last time anyone just walked up and hugged me for the sake of it. Sure, a few friends hug me from time to time, but now it's more routine than anything. It's like a handshake between us now -- 'hey, I see you, I know you're here, we're still cool as friends, did you get my text?'
Sadie, I don't know if you will ever know what that meant to me. Girl/girl hugs can be so easily misinterpreted these days, but you took the chance anyway.
Because even though I didn't fully realise it until you squealed my name, I so needed that.