In celebration of friendship and marriage and most of all — love

A little over a month ago I got really sick. In this case, “really sick” meant two trips to the doctor, one trip to the ER, three antibiotics, one steroid, four days in bed, two appointments with a specialist, and a partridge in a pear tree.

I was sick for more than a week. In that time I only got out of bed to nurse Thomas. My parents helped us through the worst of it, then Tom took time off work. Some families save PTO on beach vacations. We save it for “that time Mommy had a 102 fever for 96 hours.”

There’s never really a good time to get sick, but this virus had particularly bad timing. It took up residence in my eye (literally) just days before one of my closest friends of all time got married.

At every doctor’s appointment my only question was, “Will I feel like a real human being by Saturday?”

Finally, a doctor told me that I’d feel rough for about 30 days, but I’d probably feel like a human being by Saturday.

Just like that, I started beaming, almost like a bride.

Almost.

Almost, but not quite. Because only actual brides smile like this.

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I had already texted Candace (the bride) and told her that I couldn’t come to the wedding. I texted because I was too sick — and, frankly, too sad — to call. She was gracious and I was crestfallen.

Then three days later I sent her a text saying DISREGARD MY LAST TEXT I’M COMING I’M COMING I’M COMING!!!!

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I’m so happy, and so so thankful that I was able to be with my friend and celebrate this wonderful day, this day that we have prayed for, this day we have looked forward to for years.

Weddings are such wonderful celebrations and opportunities to look around and say, look at God’s goodness! He is so faithful! Look at what God has done!

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Several years ago, when I’d just graduated from college and was struggling with the whiplash of such a great, abrupt life change, I often talked to strangers who were a few years ahead of me about the post-college stage of life. I remember feeling relieved to hear people say they were still close with their college friends, to hearthat they hadn’t lost touch, that they still did girls’ weekends and reunions.

At that time my friendships felt volatile and fragile, and it was scary. These people I loved so much — they were suddenly far away, and the uncertainty was terrifying.

Now that I’ve been out of college three times longer than I was in college, I think back to that uncertain time, back when I didn’t yet know that in the years to come we were going to need each other in bigger and more important ways that we did in college. I didn’t know that we would continue to laugh and cry and pray together, and that because we knew each other for four years in college we’d know and love each other uniquely for decades to come.

Things have changed, people have moved away, and we’ve all made new and wonderful friendships. There have been great joys and great hardships. But there is no reason for fear, because God is faithful. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Back then, instead of taking solace in the advice of strangers, I should have considered the hearts of my girlfriends. I should have known, these girls? They’re in it for the long-haul.

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Congratulations Winston and Candace. May you fall more deeply in love with Jesus as you grow in love for each other.

Winston, you already know this, but you’re one lucky dude. As long as you live you’ll never want for hand-written notes, personalized t-shirts, or someone to straighten your hair just like Avril Lavigne’s.

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Except for one iPhone pic by me, all wedding photos by Jack O’laughlin

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