thankful: my best good friend

CerellaI often speak of a great friend whom I’ve yet to meet, and many people have difficulty understanding how a friendship can grow so strong when only printed words are involved. But what no one can understand is that my friend Cerella and I share a profound love for the written word. It is how we first connected and it is how we continue to build a friendship that rivals any I’ve ever had through physical contact. This year, above all others, it seems our bond has grown stronger in every aspect of relationship, and for that I am forever thankful.
Ten years ago, when the Internet was just making its way into the homes of average working folk, I took a stab at fan fiction for a defunct television series called The Magnificent Seven, and Cerella declared herself my biggest fan. This was my first foray into online communities, my first experience “meeting” people online, and I hadn’t yet begun using my real name anywhere. [Remember how scary it all seemed back then?] But Cerella was honest and encouraging in her love for my writing style and the characters I was adding to existing Mag7 canon, and we quickly began corresponding regularly via e-mail. I learned that she, too, had writing aspirations, so many of our conversations centered around this topic. There were no boundaries in our communication, no issues related to our 10-year age difference. We simply shared our hearts and our thoughts and found common interests in books and movies and celebrities. That was the foundation but it was really just a starting point for something far greater.
During the following decade, Cerella and I would reconnect from time to time and catch up on the past weeks or months that had kept us too busy to correspond regularly. Each time we found it to be as if no time had passed at all. My experience is that this is a sign of true friendship that endures. The fact that we have still not met in person has no effect on our bond. In fact, the past couple of years have strengthened our relationship beyond anything I ever imagined. We are sisters in Christ, we are encouragers of each other’s dreams, we are sounding boards for life’s messy details, and we are definitely each other’s biggest fans. In just a couple of months the world will see the fruit of Cerella’s lifelong passion when her first novel is released. I have been celebrating every moment since she shared the news with me. I simply could not be more proud. And the beauty is that I know if this were my accomplishment, my friend would lead the cheering section. We are friends because we have come to love each other dearly. And though we speak often of traveling across the states that separate us to meet for the first time, we both know that our relationship does not suffer because it has not happened yet. If anything, our friendship has mined depths that most never even broach. I thank God daily for this blessing.
Cerella, my friend, you are one of my greatest blessings, and I’m so thankful for you every day. I do look forward to our eventual meet-up, but I don’t know if even that could replicate the thrill I get whenever I see your name in my e-mail Inbox. It just makes me happy to share life and love and heartache and struggles with you. You have become my best friend, and I know that all glory goes to God for even making that a possibility in this human life. I love, most of all, that our friendship is borne of more than humanity, and that we will spend all eternity together, shoulder to shoulder, praising the One who did this good work in us. I love you, girl! And hope you don’t mind that I stole your photo to use on this post. Ha!

'Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania' by Cerella D. SechristFor details about Cerella’s forthcoming novel, Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, be sure to visit her website at



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