Recently I was blessed to be a part of the wedding of my oldest friend, a beautiful woman who by God’s grace I have known my whole life. To say that it was an honor or a privilege feels like a cop out or a cliche: overused words that barely convey the proper emotions. If you have ever had a friend or family member share exciting news with you, and you experienced their joy as if it was your own, then you begin to know the excitement of being able to participate in such a significant occasion.
There are many reasons that I love to attend weddings, whether I am in the bridal party or not. The chance to get dressed up, the dancing, meeting new people or catching up with old friends. It seems a world of joy and possibilities. My friend actually met her now-husband at a wedding, which seems so improbable and Romantic-Comedy-esque to our jaded modern sensibilities but has deepened my own conviction that romance still thrives in the world.
I feel that there is not enough love witnessed and properly celebrated these days. Weddings are a beautiful opportunity not only to witness the love between a couple, but for the rest of us to also express our own love and prayers for those who are beginning their new life together.
I have witnessed and participated in the weddings of enough close friends to know that there is a great deal of work and stress that goes into even the simplest of events. On top of that, weddings are a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on, whether they have ever been married themselves or not (I am as guilty of this as anyone). It seems impossible to avoid the expectations and pressures of our culture, even if one is able to overcome the fairy-tale desires that so many of us were raised on. But when love is the focus (love between the couple, but also the love of family and friends) then all of the work and effort can be worth it, can create beautiful and magical memories, and can set the tone for a whole life.
There are so many different ways to show love. Traveling long distances. Taking time out of busy schedules. Ironing tablecloths. Arranging flowers. Refraining from offering one more opinion. Being present. Providing witness.
It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, our own needs, and I don’t think that we always appreciate what a gift it can be to take the time to focus on someone else, on their needs. For me, there is a kind of relief to take a break from sorting out my own life and to instead focus on how much love and support I can show to someone else, especially when that person is already dear to my heart. I know that I can’t fix all of their problems, but I can ease a small burden, I can make them smile, I can provide a bit of peace. And somehow these things also make my own life seem more manageable. By showing our love, we somehow always get it back at the same time.
It’s an interesting experience to be single and in my thirties now, watching as so many of my friends enter new stages of life as spouses or as parents. I don’t feel particularly “left behind” or anything like that; instead I feel grateful to be able to continue to walk alongside my friends in these big moments. For one thing, it allows me to live vicariously, participating in events which God may or may not will for my own life. For another thing, it allows me to live a fuller life and expand the pool of people that I love. Every time that one of my girlfriends gets married, it’s as if I’ve gotten a new brother. Every time a friend or family member has a new baby, my own heart expands to welcome that new life, delighted to watch them grow and learn who they are.
Life is made mostly of little moments, and these are beautiful things, as well. But we also need the big moments to remind us of why the little moments matter. And it really all comes down to love.