Kristina, there once was a time, a long time ago, when nothing separated us.
We shared the same bedroom.
We shared the same bathroom.
We shared some of the same clothes – much to your chagrin!
We shared the same stories.
We shared the same books.
We shared the same Lego, Fisher Price Little People, and other toys.
As my little sister, the life we shared in our family home was blessed. There were days that I never want to forget – like the times we played and played and played on the beach at Manzanita. There were hours and hours of fun in the Beveland house basement when we constructed tales of family life with our Little People in their Lego houses and towns. We hid so well at the Swanson house – right before it was time to go home – that our parents let us spend the night and extend our fun. We loved to sing all the songs to the Sound of Music with the Spoelstras’ in their garage – how many times we did that I have no idea! We hid ourselves away in our bedrooms and read all those ten cent and twenty-five cent Harlequin Romances that we bought at the Cannon Beach library – what were we thinking? (There’s a reason they were just a dime or a quarter!) And yes, there were other times when we cried long and hard together after we fought and then made-up.
I never felt lonely during those years, because I had you, and Gordon, and then David. There was always some one to talk to, to play with, and to antagonize.
Of course time passed. I left for Oregon State and that was particularly difficult time for you. I don’t think I completely grasped the effect of my departure and physical absence in your life then. I confess I was pretty full of myself and so excited about the adventures I was living – sometimes to the detriment of my grades that freshman year. However, as I ponder this life I’ve lived, I’ve never been the one to stay or the one left behind. As the oldest Johnson kid, and now as the missionary, I’ve always had places to go and people to see and adventures to discover.
Now, decades on, one thing I most look forward to when I return to the States is spending time with you. Lunch dates, drop-in visits at Mom and Dad’s, shopping, and just hanging out, fill my soul and remind me once again how blessed I am to have a sister and a friend like you.
When your life began, one of the gifts that resulted was that your life would be entwined with mine…from the very, very, very beginning of your days! You were chosen to be my sister and I was chosen to be yours.
Thank you, Kristina for sharing your life so generously and so unreservedly with me.
Although our pathways in life took different courses and required different things from each of us, we never stopped holding each other’s hands and embracing each other’s hearts. We never stopped sharing in the joys and sorrows of each others’ journey.
Thank you for that, Kristina.
You are an incredible wife and partner to Gary.
You are an inspiration and blessing to your children, Ben, Kara, and Logan.
You are a loyal daughter who honors and cherishes our parents, Doug and Sue Ann.
You are a loving and encouraging aunt to our sons, Micah, Jake, and Caleb.
You are a wise, fun-loving, and patient sister to Gordon, David, and to me.
You are a dear friend to many who hold you in respect, in awe, in love, and in joy.
As we celebrate your 50th year of life, (how did that happen, by the way?), be assured of my eternal love for you and my infinite gratitude to our Heavenly Father for bringing us together when he determined that we should be and always will be sisters.
May our God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, today, tomorrow, and in all of your days.
I love you, Kristina! How grateful I am for you!
Have a very special day! I wish I could be there!