Ashley Nicole Martin!
"Who is she," you ask? She entered into my life as Oingo Boingo and I was Ka-Ching. Island Lake Camp was the stage and these were our stage names. I entered her sphere of reality as a actor portraying an actor. At Island Lake there was a reversal of pretense, whereas in the outside world one may shield the fact of their faith behind a world-wise shield of cynicism, in this world the air is dense with judgement and "holy rebuke". I was violently departing from this falsehood internally while flying with kamikaze speed into a stronghold of Christian pride. Enter Ashley four weeks before camp ended. We were friends immediately as is we had known each other for many lifetimes with the simple details of our lives just formalities. She was an oasis of acceptance in this desert of seemingly judging eyes. Thus our sojourn began.
Ashley and I were roommates for a year in a place called Maple Leaf, in Seattle. Our apartment was previously a brothel, with a drive-through. It was a casa style building with stucco and a rotting overhang for a porch. We affectionately dubbed it the "Mexican Whorehouse." Ashley suffered me and suffered with me through depression, addiction, two doomed relationships, and all the other benefits of walking away from Jesus. Through all of this she was a beautiful friend and persevered in spite of my abuse and generally disagreeable state. If love is tempered by trial then, as it stands today, ours is stronger than most.
What makes Ashley a treasure of God would be cheapened if I tried to portray it fully now with my feeble words, but even as dipping a ladle in a raging river will not bring forth the power of that river, it will still give a taste of what makes that river rage.
Ashley is the picture of female intuition. She so often has been the perspective that cures my blind spot. Her gold-green eyes that curl at the edge like Cleopatra, see much more than a face when she looks out. Her vigilant heart sometimes drives her to anxious fear, but somehow she shines even brighter in the midst of desperate need. She channels God's beauty through submission, the fight in her igniting through suffering toward God.
If the laughter that has erupted between us could be bottled it would drown the sorrow of the world. Our handshakes, code words and knowing looks comprise a language all their own. We two people that are violently different endured each other, we bled into one another's lives painfully yet with joyful irreversibility.
She now lives in Portland, but it might as well be Pluto. In moments when the world seems cold and bitter, memories of our friendship warm my soul. God's love runs in her veins and she transfuses those lacking with that sustaining flow.