Mallory and I both lived in Senegal at the same time, working for the same organization though in different cities. She knew the girls I was working with, so occasionally we would all meet and hang out in the capital city of Dakar. I got food poisoning from a sushi restaurant one weekend, and when I suggested she sleep in a different room because I would be vomiting all night, she said, “Nah, it’s fine,” and fell asleep. Her chill reaction immediately made me want to be her friend.
Liz, Holly, and I decided to spend our spring break with Mallory. We visited her home in Dahra then drove north to a camp on the outskirts of the Sahara where we slept in hobbit tents and rode camels. Mallory and I bonded over a shared sense of weird humor. When we finished the vacation by housesitting for a missionary family, we cracked up over a comment about having to be athletic to do laundry on the third floor. In an absurd desire to understand athletic laundry, we threw a soccer ball down the stairs, where three stories of velocity made it bounce up and shatter a light bulb. Our shared sense of whimsy is occasionally disastrous, and I love her for it.
In the years since we lived in Senegal, Mallory and I have been the primary enforcers of Senegal reunions. We are fiercely loyal to the people we love, and I can always count on her to say “Yes!” when I suggest cross-country roadtrips to meet up with visiting friends. She is spontaneous, affectionate, silly, and deep. She loves Jesus more than most people I know, and she isn’t afraid to talk about her fears, struggles, and dreams.
She’s going to be a pastor, I think. She ought to be. She is incredibly gifted at seeing truth and explaining it well. She combines intelligence with emotionality and transparency, and my faith in Jesus has deepened as a result of my friendship with Mallory. I want very badly for an entire church to have the benefit of her wisdom.
She also loves Lord of the Rings, which is, of course, the final nail in the You-Are-My-Forever-Friend coffin. She sees the same beauty and pain in the stories that I do. We marathoned through the entire extended edition trilogy one weekend, then spent another two hours processing the story after the credits rolled. We’ve just decided to re-read the series together, text-shouting at each other whenever we come across something especially meaningful.
Mallory is a beautiful woman with a heart that is bursting with love. She is an inspiration to me and a delight to be around. I always feel safe with her, and our conversations can veer between silly and profound in the space of sentences. I’m so grateful to call her my friend, and I cannot wait to see what amazing plans God has in store for her life.