(Bosom) Friend Fridays: Karmen Koehn
When I first moved Denver, I was sleeping on an air mattress in a cold and empty apartment, waking up to the knowledge that my friends were 1,200 miles away, my mom had cancer, and it was -17 degrees outside.
On my very first Sunday night back in January, I found myself at a tiny church where no one talked to me. This would be an apt time to mention that church-goers (myself included) have a lot to learn about the whole “welcoming” thing – but that is neither here nor there. The point is, after the service, as everyone was milling around in their little huddles talking to each other, I slowly stood up. I wrapped my scarf around my neck. I pulled on my parka. And I walked outside into the night alone.
“Is this your first time?” came a voice from behind me.
“Yeah,” I answered.
She laughed. “Well, it’s my fifth – and no one has ever talked to me.”
Neither of us ever went back to that church. But that’s how I met the fantastic Karmen Koehn.
Karmen is one of those rare, easy souls who makes time together feel effortless – even for this introvert. The first time that we hung out, I invited her over to share the only two things I had: boxed wine and leftover – leftover – DiGiorno pizza.
She still wanted to be my friend.
With a background in ministry and art, Karmen’s path has taken her all over. She was raised on a farm in a Mennonite community in Oklahoma. She went to John Brown University in Arkansas. She spent 6 years living in an African-American neighborhood in inner-city Chicago. She worked at a car dealership in Kansas. Now, she is a full-time graphic designer and marketing guru downtown Denver, finishing up a grad degree, and hanging out with me.
She has been to Australia. She has hiked a good chunk of the John Muir Trail. When we went hiking in western Colorado, she scraped up her shin something fierce – and didn’t even cry. She knows how to throw a football. Her middle name is Chantall (don’t you think that’s worth mentioning?). And she makes awesome art like this.
… which our friend Scotty then had tattooed on her arm.
She is amazing, and has been such a life-saver for me here in Denver – a safe friend in a sea of strangers.
See? Nothing is ever wasted – even unfriendly church-folk*.
*Not an endorsement.