Wednesday, November 13, 2013

to my friend on her second wedding anniversary.

dear christine,

the title of this post would imply that it's going to be about your marriage,
but it's actually more about our friendship.

sorry, i know that's kind of narcissistic, but hey- it's my blog and i do what i want.


three springs ago, i had a hard break-up. four days later you got engaged.

i remember you calling me to tell me you were engaged. i was sitting in the sunny back corner of the bagel shop in glen ellyn, journaling and fighting sadness like a weight on my chest, when my phone rang and it was you screaming in excitement.

when i picture that sunny corner and your voice and that day,
all i remember feeling is overwhelming happiness.
when we finally both stopped shrieking and hung up,
i couldn't stop grinning,
and when i looked down at my journal,
for just a second i couldn't remember why there were tear stains on the page.

your joy was my joy.

i remember a week or two later, going wedding dress shopping.
you tried on dresses and posed in those three-way mirrors and all the bridal consultants and i oohed and aahhed over you and you kept smiling and making conversation with everyone there like you do because no matter what you are interested in other people,
and you were so beautiful and so excited to marry luke and so excited to wear that dress and so so happy.

and afterwards we went out to lunch to that place with the good milkshakes,
and you tried to make me talk about how i was feeling about the break-up.
i tried to change the subject BECAUSE WE WERE BUYING YOUR FREAKING WEDDING DRESS and we do not need to talk about this right now!! we're happy!! it's fine!!

and you were PISSED. do you remember?

you said i was not.allowed. to say why i was grateful everything had happened how it had, or try to find any lessons in it, or claim there were silver linings, for "at least six months!" (but i talked you down to three); this was a period where it was important to let myself just be sad,
and you grabbed my hand and said
i'm sooo sad you're sad, too.

my pain was your pain.


i count that story as one of my most precious memories.

every once in awhile i'll tell it to someone, and i always feel sort of tentative and vulnerable... like does it even make sense why it matters so much to me?

long after the pain of a break-up has faded,
the gratitude for your friendship in that season remains.

it is no small blessing to have a friend
who will mourn with me
when you had every reason in the world to just be happy.

"rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

i got relief from the heaviness of that time for me, in your joy;

but what benefit did taking breaks from your delirious happiness to cry with me have for you?

and yet you were all in,
for mourning as well as rejoicing.


two years ago today, you floated- it really seemed like that- down the aisle on the arms of your parents.

i've never seen someone happier.

everyone who loves you and luke watched and cried and praised God for His sweet, sweet goodness.

you and that boy gazed at each other and oh, the joy.


eight months ago, i was in my office finishing paperwork at the end of the day
when my phone rang. i answered and heard your voice.

you were at the hospital. and you were crying.

through those weeks of tests, and through these months of scary appointments and trial medications and an unknown future,
through hard hard questions and aching, angry prayers,

oh, my love, there has been mourning.
big, hard mourning.

young love gets a bad rap sometimes, like it isn't real because it hasn't been tested.
what i wish is that you'd gotten a few more years of not being tested.
i wish people were rolling their eyes at your love for each other because it's young and naive.
i wish you could still be naive in your newlywedness.

but i thought i couldn't hear you sound more in love than when you called screaming that he'd finally proposed,

then i thought i couldn't hear you sound more in love than when you vowed the rest of your life to him.

but now i've heard your voice tell me, as you drive home from picking up prescriptions, "I am so, so lucky to be married to him."

you and that boy gaze at each other and oh, the joy.

and babe, whether you will take this or not:

your community praises God for what we see when we look at you two.


three springs ago it seemed like a cruel joke to have a break-up and an engagement in the same week. i was so frustrated, that it couldn't just be clean and easy: "we're just happy!".

now (with my sage 25-year-old wisdom) life just seems more all mixed up like that.

sometimes stuff is really hard. sometimes it's really really amazing. usually it's something like both at once, especially if you're counting other people's blessings and burdens in your own.

i hope every day for you is happy for the rest of your life. i hope that you have 60 or 70 more years of marriage.
i hope you come with me to try on my wedding dress someday,
and when we go out for milkshakes afterwards,
maybe i'll rub your baby belly and you'll be laughing and still be interested in chatting with the waitress and hearing where she went to school because you're always interested in other people.

but probably it's going to all be some of both.
sometimes we're going to be calling each other screaming in joy and sometimes crying in heartache and confusion.

and when i think about how we'll live those seasons,
i remember what your 22-year-old, glowing, bride-to-be self showed me:

my pain is your pain, even when it's inconvenient for you and you have every reason to choose to enter into it later.
i pray i would be as good a friend to you.

i can't wait to continue shrieking in excitement with you over all of your joys, from good sales at the grocery store to baby kicks.

and when you are mourning,
even if i am in a season where i could choose to turn away and just smile at my own sunshine,
i pray i will get indignant and tell you that you're not allowed to be grateful or find a silver lining for at least six months,
and i will look you in the eye and grab your hand and tell you earnestly,
i know. i am so sad with you.

it is one of the greatest joys of my life to rejoice and mourn with you.

thank you for being an amazing friend.


...umm... also, happy anniversary!!!
i love you both. i have a card for you and hopefully i will even get it in the mail soon.

love forever,
your grateful friend (and bridesmaid!!)

milkshakes and engagement rings,
april 2011

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As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.