Lately, I’ve been thinking about what makes someone the best kind of friend and this is what I’ve come up with. The best kind of friend is not necessarily one you see every day, or talk to on the phone regularly to catch up on the last scoop, though that’s always fun. The best kind of friend is not even a person who gives you gifts or picks up the tab whenever you meet for lunch, though that is pretty awesome too. No, in my opinion, the absolute best kind of friend is a person who without a shadow of a doubt, truly believes in you, brings out the best in you and makes you feel like a better person because of knowing them. That’s the kind of friend Mary Ann Kullman was to me.
I met Mary Ann through a mutual friend, Annette Medina over twelve years ago at Mocha Mania on Main Street, when it was still in business. Mary Ann and I connected immediately in a very special way. It was our faith in God that gave us that instant bond.
Sharing our faith would have been enough to consider Mary Ann a lifelong friend but there was more to it. As we got to know each other Mary Ann seemed to take an extraordinary interest in the things that were important to me. As I opened up and shared my hearts desires in regards to ministry with her, there was literally nothing that I could bring to Mary Ann that she wouldn’t genuinely support and be excited about for me and with me.
Every idea, every plan, every new project, no matter how crazy it sounded, if I desired to serve God through it, she believed in it and she believed in me. Whether it was writing a story, speaking at ladies groups, making pasta, serving coffee, sending magazines to Africa or leading a small women’s bible study in my living room Mary Ann supported the idea and supported me. And when I say support, I don’t mean the way most of us support one another with well-meaning words and then we go on our merry way. Mary Ann would stop what she was doing to get involved and help in any way possible.
Like the time I needed to raise money to publish a book I had written called The Lost Coin. I had let Mary Ann read the manuscript in its rough, un-edited form and typical Mary Ann style she caught the vision and purpose of the book and whole-heartedly agreed that it had to be published. She made it a point to inform me as often as possible that God would do great things through the story and she was determined to be a part of it. She immediately offered to help me sell frozen cookie dough through a fundraiser just so I could raise the money needed to publish the book. You can imagine what my living room looked like with all the orders she had received on the day the cookie dough delivery man showed up.
All the money needed was raised and once The Lost Coin was in print, Mary Ann bought more copies than anyone just so she could give the book as a gift to people she knew and some she didn’t know, but believed needed the reminder of God’s grace and forgiveness through a fiction story. The Lost Coin was my dream and without hesitation Mary Ann joined in and helped it come true. That’s the kind of friend she was.
Mary Ann had the ability to make me feel like what I had to say was extremely valuable and she always managed in some way to assure me that God had a call on my life and that I could do more than I imagined. And the best thing about her is that she did the exact same thing with EVERYONE she knew. I’m just one of many people who Mary Ann made feel genuinely special.
When I heard of her sudden passing this last week I had the strangest reaction. I went to take a walk at the park near my house and expected to shed my share of tears for the loss of my friend but as I began reflecting on all that I knew of Mary Ann Kullman these past twelve years, a warm, joyful, down-rite happy feeling began to stir in my heart. At first I thought I must be in denial or going crazy because tears seemed more appropriate. But the truth is I really did feel happy in the midst of my sadness; happy because Mary Ann was an honest reflection of Christ and she loved to serve God simply by loving and believing in His people.
Mary Ann was a giver through and through. When she was happy she gave, when she was hurting she reached out, touched others and gave some more. It didn’t matter what was going on in her life, Mary Ann truly lived to be a blessing to others. She was the kind of person that I hope to be like when I grow up. While we will miss her, we can be happy because Mary Ann leaves behind a legacy of gold and as one of her many friends I would like to say, Thank you Mary Ann, well-done!