I have lived almost 34 years on this amazing earth suspended in a unknown and vast cosmos. In this short time, I’ve met so many people that have had different impacts on my life. Some bad, most, soooo very good.
“he who wants friends, should show themselves friendly”
I met Courtney Dellafiora at a homeschool convention in April 1996 in Baker, LA. We were both 13 years old. She was a beautiful person and full of so much life, happiness, and excitement. We were both homeschooled students. It always stuck out to me that she came up to me first and introduced herself to me. Such quality. Me. A 13 year old black boy in traditional, homeschooling, conservative, 1990s, South Louisiana (don’t act like “it” doesn’t exist).
Yes! Homeschooled. But in the 1990s, that was not AT ALL cool. And “NO,” we did not do our schoolwork in our pajamas.
We were both social butterflies, whom God wisely gave to 2 sets of brave parents who decided to homeschool us instead of sending us to public or private school. As much as I (or maybe we) hated this decision, somehow God gave this wisdom to our parents knowing that we would have plenty of time to be social, and that our formative years needed to be spent focusing on learning and building our character for the journey God was getting ready to walk with us on.
I can remember weeks after meeting Courtney, I received a letter in the mail from her. “Who is Courtney Sehon and why is she writing you a letter?” my “interested” mother asked (just kidding mom). I was thrilled to receive it. It was pretty much small talk from, “How is weather in Baker?” (we were only 40 some ought miles away from each other), to “What are you studying?” To me, it was such a cool thing to have a pen pal and a new friend.
Time went on and we really didn’t see or communicate with each other very often. Homeschooling seemed like a black hole of existence back then. There was so many government agencies trying to take away the legal right using any means. Which is why, as I mentioned before, our parents and so many others like them, were so brave for standing in this right. Not for the sake of being right, but for the sake of a better education and future for their children. After all, isn’t everything about the future? About our children? I was so happy that as I neared graduation, more and more social and athletic opportunities came about.
5 or 6 years later, at an unfortunate event, a funeral for a mutual, young, homeschooled friend, God brought Courtney back into my life. I was in school at Baton Rouge Community College and working at Sunshine Christian Armory. We reconnected again. I was so happy to see my long lost pen pal and friend. 5 or 6 years to a teen seems like an eternity.
It was during these years that I really got to know Courtney. She even called me one day and asked “if I knew how to drive a standard transmission car.” I said yes, and she showed up after work “bucking” in a new standard transmission car she had just bought, but didn’t really know how to drive. I don’t even know how she made it to my job from the dealership without knowing how to drive a standard. But If you know Courtney, you know this girl is fearless and stubborn. She probably got lucky and rolled in neutral down a hill the whole way to my job. (I know. There are no hills in BTR) In that huge and empty parking lot off Florida Blvd. She learned to drive a stick as well as me in only 30 minutes. I was pretty proud!
For the next years, occasional texting (that was super new and expensive back then), phone calls and occasional meets with her and her boyfriend kept us in peripheral vision of each other. I was in college at Southern University, and then music school at LSU, while in a relationship also. We supported each other. We valued each other. What others looked at and thought nothing of, or thought too much of, we looked at and saw how invaluable our friendship was. We came from simple, loving, American families, in humble beginnings.
I love friendships that are low maintenance. What I mean by this is, “out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t exist in these friendships. That friend is always in your minds eye. Always in your thoughts, always in your prayers. Those are the relationships that are the most valuable to me. Relationships that when God brings you both to different shores with oceans of time, experiences, and physical distance between you, you are constantly staying connected through prayer, memories, common ground, and thoughts. And when God brings you back across that ocean into each others lives again, you immediately can pick up where you last left off, but this time with so much more added stories to share with each other. I am so blessed to have a select few of these strong relationships in my life. I know who these relationships are. I value them. I cherish them. I will fight for them. I will give my life for these amazing people. At times in my life, when girlfriends have asked me in their insecurity to “make a choice” the choice has always been an easy one. I choose Courtney and my select friends like her. I’ve learned to recognize the people in my life that are passing though, when to let them go, and the people who are here to stay as part of the structure, the fabric of who I am. You want to know who I am? Look at these selected few friends.
Courtney is my friend for over 20 years. She is my longest running friendship and one of the few people who truly understands what it was like being homeschooled when it was not popular. She understands the challenge of transitioning from a homeschooled education into RESPONSIBLE adulthood. Not even our parents understand or know what this experience feels like. When you are testing your wings for the first time……at age 18, when most other students test their wings everyday in school. This doesn’t make you weaker. quite the contrary. It makes you stronger. Much stronger. Your wings are stronger. You can fly higher, faster, and longer. You’ve had more time and less distractions while developing. Our parents hoped, worked, sacrificed, and prayed for this. Courtney understands that. She is my only friend who understands this. This makes her very, very, very, VERY, valuable to me.
Courtney has laughed with me, and at me. She has supported my dreams. Given me wise advice that most people pay therapists, strategists, and analysts thousands of dollars for (don’t send me a invoice Courtney). She has helped me. Been there for me in my worst moments. She is one of those friends like Job had in the Bible. You know, the ones that just sat with him IN HIS MISERY. Their presence was a present (#getwellsoonkanye). She has comforted me in my worst moments, and rejoiced with me in my victories. She is the “older” sister I’ve never had (only by 4 months, 13 days). I thank God everyday for Mr. and Mrs. Sehon, for creating Courtney and every other person in her family tree for making the decision that brought this amazing human into this world.
As I stated above, we support each other. I signed her marriage license and stood in support and witness of it. She supported and documented my engagement and marriage capturing amazing photographs like we all know only she can do. Courtney is a generous giver of her time, talent, and treasure. She is a giver, not a taker. She is such a real person. Not a faker. I’m so glad that I’m a strong and secure enough person to be friends with Courtney. In over 20 years of knowing her, I’ve learned and seen that people who are weak and insecure with themselves cannot function around the power and grace that God has given Courtney. People either must “grow a set” and deal with their own weaknesses and insecurities to become the better for it, or walk away and bitterly continue being weak and insecure while blaming her for their failure. Now if you are strong and secure enough to friends with her. Get ready for personal improvement on another level!
Courtney inspires me with her luster for life. Her wanderlust for this amazing earth that God has given us is palpating. You cant help but want to increase your life, when you are in this woman’s presence. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” prov27:17nlt
Courtney believes in me. Even when I don’t believe in myself. She is a leader. In every sense of the word. She is fearless, fierce, highly intelligent, more than capable, lover of the souls of people, responsible and brave. She’s tough, yet gracious, thankful,… I could literally go on and on and on. In a era, where femininity is under attack, she is a woman that is powerful….and precious.
provoke each other to good works
I’ve watched the evil one, Satan, in the last decade throw a blitzkrieg of destruction over her personal life that most of you know nothing about. I’ve seen her dig in, ALONE, like a highly trained navy seal on a compromised mission, and hold the line that God gave her to hold, WITH NO REINFORCEMENTS,…… FOR YEARS. She dug in “tight as a tick” in her foxhole, and withstood the enemy onslaught in her personal life. She held back the enemy, who tried to destroy her body, her mind, her soul, and her spirit. Just like Job. What a testament to who she is. Just like in the Bible, I believe Courtney is one of the watchmen.(ezekial 3:17, isiah 62:6 isiah 52:8 ez33:6) a strongman. For If the enemy can defeat people like Courtney, we are all proper fucked. (unfriend me now if you plan to complain, cause in fact if you do, I will unfriend you) “in fact, no one can enter a strongmans house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the whole house.” mark3:27
When Courtney told me she was going to Iceland, I was thrilled that she would travel the world again. She has a spirit that needs to be free, again. Free too wander with awestruck purpose the earth that God placed us on and use her enchanting vision, the way she sees and records life, to share these experiences with us and invite us along for the adventure of it all. There are people and places that need Courtney and people like Courtney. We can’t keep her all to ourselves in a photography business or some enclosed space for our benefit when we seek it. People like Courtney, belong to the world. To all of us. There are people in the remote corners of the earth that need to know people like Courtney. To give us all hope….
When she asked me to compose music for her amazing Iceland video footage, I was excited, but not nearly as excited when I finished the work and knew it was the best I’ve ever done for one of my best friends. The piece is entitled “Endhana” which is an abbreviation for “Restore Her” in the Icelandic language. I pray God restores Courtney to 100% and more. Courtney, As you prepare for this next chapter, the adventure of the next 33 years and more, I pray Joel 2:25-27 for you.
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.The crawling locust,
The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame.
Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God
And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.”
Why is Courtney so amazing? Why is Lawrence, a married man talking this way about his “friend”, a woman that is not his wife? Is there some scandal afoot? (Yes. Some of your stupid thoughts are really that loud) Lol. No. I’ve known Jesus since I was 9 years old. I chose him on on my own. Not because my parents chose Him. I chose Him. I’ve learned after 24 years of walking with Christ and over 20 years in worship ministry to listen to the Holy Spirit. Ive learned that we know nothing in comparison to all that God knows and plans for all of us and yet each of us. I make mistakes, I’ve probably made more than a few in this post, but I’ve learned to be true to myself. As the great William Shakesphere says, “to thine own self be true.” I know that Courtney walks with Christ and loves God with all her heart, mind and soul. In the way God has instructed and coded her, she shares Jesus with everyone she meets. She effects and affects us all. We are all changed when we are with her, whether it be a smile across our face or an angry thought because she stood her ground and remained true to herself and her standard of work. When we see the pictures of us she captures, it alerts us or reminds us, how beautiful or handsome, powerful or precious we are in the sight of God. If lifts us up and moves us on toward the day when we all see Jesus.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother (or sister) is born for adversity.”
Thank you Courtney.
YOU ARE MY FRIEND AND I CARE ABOUT YOU!
to princess Vanellope von Schweetz from stinkbrain,