n has been in my life the longest of all my bff's. she knows much about me and we've shared stories, laughs, cries and dreams over almost 2 decades. earlier this year, i made my way to nashville to visit n during one of her travel nursing stints. while the slew of beers, line dancing and shots enjoyed late into the night revealed that we indeed held the same fire for a good party as we did when we met as young'ns, our conversations about present life and future goals proved we've certainly grown quite a bit. over a proper southern breakfast on sunday morning, n asked me about marriage. she wanted to hear my honest account of it so far - the good, the bad and the ugly. she had many questions and concerns that i remember having as a newly-engaged woman and a new bride, and i was happy to share my thoughts and even a few tips with her. for a couple of hours, between country ham and cups of coffee i opened up about what marriage was like for me and what nearly 4 years of the institution had taught and changed about me/my life. when n dropped me off at the airport for my flight back home, i hoped that i had in some way calmed her soul. bottom line, n was in line to marry a great man. one who would undoubtedly be an excellent partner to her throughout her life. and that fact trumped all of my advice.
a few months later i was honored when she asked me to write and read something in her wedding. i didn't have to dig deep, but i did aim to be as honest as i was that morning in nashville. i wanted to sum up not just what marriage meant, but love in general. i wanted to make clear how easy love is, as long as you understand it's very complicated. below is what i came up with:
Since the beginning of time, people have written about love. Those stories have appeared in great and simple works from the Bible to blogs. Movies have been made and songs sung, about an endless search for, a painful time spent in and a life-changing realization about, love. From a young age, we learn that love is where we came from. We’re surrounded by it and therefore set out to find it in ourselves and in another. And when we do – or even if we don’t – we realize it’s the thing we hope is around us when we die. It’s easy to spend so much time agonizing over this four letter word: What does it mean, where does it go, how do you know it’s real. But you can see it, feel it and, actually give it to someone else, which makes me believe love is so much easier than we realize.
Yes, it’s important to remember, love is patient and love is kind, but it’s also light and dark. It’s happy and sad. It’s exciting and it’s scary. It’s a whisper, it’s a shout. Most days fly by but some drag on.
The fact is, true love is a little bit of everything. And today is your declaration to the world that you both understand this. Over the years, things will surely change but only because your love will grow to unimaginable levels. If you allow these transformations and accept the vulnerability that sometimes comes with this commitment to love, in return you will receive an undying satisfaction that you never could have dreamed of.