My Friend Created Sunshine in My Life

When I was in college, I had a good friend. Her name was Carolyn Peter Evans. But she always went and still goes by the nickname Pete. She was a wondrous friend. She graduated a year ahead of me. We met when I was a freshman, she a sophomore. The next year she spent in Austria on an exchange program. My junior year I spent second semester in Rome, and she was a senior. We have seen each other rarely ever since. But I think of her fondly. My freshman year was pretty lousy much of the time. I was seriously bullied. But Pete was one of the first at that college who befriended me for the long haul. She always called me Sunshine. She didn’t call me Kate, she called me Sunshine. John Denver’s song Sunshine was popular at the time. That song, then, always had special meaning to me. The song, and Pete’s nickname for me made me feel special; they made me feel as though someone could see my loving, optimistic, giving heart.

I have seldom spoken or written about that lovely time and connection. But I had been thinking about it, because the song Sunshine has been on my radio a few times lately. I thought about how God puts just the right people in my path at just the right time. They are provided to veer our hearts in the best direction for us. Pete was that kind of girl. We could talk about all kinds of things. We’d eat lunch and dinner together. Second semester I was on academic probation. Nope I hadn’t partied and skipped class first semester. I had done poorly due to my need to adapt and change my studying methods for the college arena. so second semester I was at the library until really late in the evening every night. I’d make my way back to the dorms. If I was up to it I would swing by Pete’s room and she would listen to me talk about my day. She’d talk about hers….and then I’d head back to my room.

It wasn’t complicated. She’d open her door and say with a smile “Hi Sunshine! How are you? You look wonderful” or words to that effect. I tell you this, it was a balm. It made a difference. It let me know….things are going to be just fine. So when I hear John Denver sing “Sunshine” I think of her. Isn’t that funny? I don’t think of myself, I think of her. I think about the kind nicknames that people make up for each other. I think of the amazing serendipity that God uses to delight and enthrall and even enchant us.  She drew a picture of a sunshine and wrote in my yearbook and said many times “Those who spread sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves”. It reassured me so much at the end of that tumultuous year. The truth is: the more you love, the more sunshine you spread. The truth also is: the more deeply you are loved, the less the rejection by others even registered on your radar. It mutes the noise, it heals the wounds, and sets your sails smoothly in the wind. Sail on folks—stay in the Sunshine—or should I say Sonshine?  I will write more about Sunshine tomorrow. Stay tuned—there will be a surprise.

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
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19 Responses to My Friend Created Sunshine in My Life

  1. Ahhh… Kate, Sunshine on my shoulder……you always manage to take me back to a time that seemed so much simplier in many ways.
    I have for girlfriends I have known most of my life. Each of them bring such a place of security for me in that nothing about them and a=our friendships ever change. For almost 57 yrs two of have known one another since being babaies, our moms were good friends. We’ve gone to school together through college and raised children together. Now our children’s children are growing up with each other. Not all family members are blood relatives, yet very relative all the same.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      oh boy as the years continue do we treasure our Ya-YaS, right? I have some friends like that that go back decades….but not all the way back to childhood. I have tracked down a few of those. But the ones I have now are either from college or post college when I became friends with them when our children were tiny. They each (I pray) will be friends forever. I am blessed beyond measure and expression.

  2. So we do, so we do. And ZI thank God for each one of you being blessings in my life. Some like you I count twice.

  3. I’m just laughing- no, neither does my husband get it. But then again I don’t get how a softly natured of a gentle ben of a man can all of a sudden turn all macho the moment his best friend arrives.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Oh I know!! My husband is a Gentle Ben kind of guy but his friends show up (or his brothers) and it’s the quick hug, triple thump on the back–and then macho talk…so cute!!!

      • I saw mine with our (HIS) best man lay a lip lock on one another after we’d not seen them for some time. This is the couple my husband D and I met through, very special people in our lives to be sure. But they both, D & best man strive to shock the “women folk” in a room, they did shock me that day. Still talked about today.!

  4. I certainly remember that song, too. What a lovely friendship…I certainly hope you have a way to get in touch with Pete! She would be so touched by this post, I’m sure. Debra

  5. Pingback: How Someone Spread Technicolor Day Dream Sunshine Into My Life | Believe Anyway

  6. misswhiplash says:

    I was also going to suggest that you find her again..what a great story and what a wonderful friendship…thanks for sharing!xxxx

  7. Caddo Veil says:

    I SO want to be a gal like Pete–thanks for a great and wonderful story!! Have a blessed day.

  8. The freshman year ruins so many dreams. Maybe if each freshman had a big sister or brother, they would do better.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      actually my school did have a big sister system. they saw us through orientation week. beyond that she and i didn’t connect—she was in a different dorm and we didn’t seek each other out. i don’t know that it would have occurred to me to even let her know what was going on. i never thought about that..hmmm….

  9. Pingback: Sunshine Award & Me? | Lady Barefoot Baroness

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