Friday, July 27, 2012

a tribute.

{my maid of honor speech}

9 years ago, I met a girl.

She was cute and funny, outgoing and quirky.  She was an amazing baker, threw the best parties, was a fabulous singer, and an even better mother.

I quickly became friends with her, watching movies, playing games, baking with bay leaves, going on walks, eating pineapple, stealing garbage, serving in church callings together, laughing, and always having fun.  Then one night at a barbecue, she and I found common ground in a way I had never found with other friends before her.  We were able to open up emotionally on a deeper level, talking about hardships that were close to our own hearts, things that no one can understand unless they have weathered the same storm.

After that night I knew that she and I would be friends for life, and she wasn't really going to be given a choice in the matter.  I wouldn't let her go even if she wanted me to.

Years passed and we kept in touch, even when circumstances moved us across the country.  Phone calls, emails and blogs helped us keep up on each other's lives.  Our friendship continued  as we faced sick babies, hardships with family, multiple moves and job changes, loss of pregnancies, and mentally unstable teenagers, just to name a few.

Some would call it luck, but I would call it the hand of God knowing what lay ahead for the both of us as my little family unexpectedly moved to Arizona, where this friend of mine was now living.  She was kind enough to open up her home while we looked for our own.  It was during this time, on a sweltering afternoon with the air-conditioning on full blast that this friend finally let me in, and trusted me with pain she had been enduring for years. We shared the pain and tears as she let me mourn with her and that day our friendship grew again.

This was one of many times I was able to catch just a glimpse of the strength this friend of mine had.

During the next two years, I watched as she dove head-first into some of the most challenging times she had ever faced.  And I saw her change, and the change was tangible not only on the inside but on the outside.  She crawled her way out of a dark hole that had been dug for her by another, and came out of that hole more courageous, more beautiful, more humble, more kind, more thoughtful, with an unshakable faith and an ability to keep her soft heart to forgive those who had continually hurt her.

My only worry was that she would not be able to find someone who was as amazing as she was, someone who could be her equal. I remember nights of late phone calls, laughing while we read profiles of single men, and I wondered if there was ever going to be anyone who would come along who deserved her.

Nine months ago, this beautiful friend of mine, was set up on a blind date.  Not only was it a blind date, but it was also a group date.  Needless to say, she was extremely hesitant to go.  I told her to give it a chance, and reminded her of a promise she had made....that no matter how uncomfortable she was, she had promised to put herself out there and try.  To take a risk.  And in return, she would be protected from pitfalls she had previously fallen into.  So she went.

I talked to her after that group date, and then after the first date alone with this new guy, and I could immediately tell--something was different.  There were no red flags, there was nothing to laugh about.  He was actually normal.  Not just normal, but the more time she spent with him, the more she realized just how incredible he was.  Our conversations about him turned from "He's a really nice, cute guy" to "I have never felt this way about anyone before."

The day came that I finally got to meet this, nice, incredible guy, and I met him with eyes that were similar to a mama bear's.  I was prepared to pounce on him if he made a wrong move.  But he didn't.  It felt easy and comfortable to be around him.  He was funny, intelligent, good-looking, kind, and I could tell that most importantly....he was a good person.  Good to the core.

Their relationship continued, evolving and deepening.  Each time she and I talked about him, there was something different that I heard in her voice, something that I hadn't heard in a few years.  Happiness.

Today I stand, looking at this friend of mine who has been through so much.  This young girl who was not given much of a chance at happiness has risen above her circumstances and turned into one of the most amazing individuals with one of the most courageous, beautiful spirits I have ever been blessed to have in my life.  And she has finally found someone who deserves her.

Andrea, I can not begin to express how grateful I am for you.  How much I love you.  How happy I am for you today.  Shawn, I love you too.  I am so thankful you have found each other and I can't wait to see the rest of your story unfold together.



Rachel Holloway said...

SO, SO, SO HAPPY FOR THEM! What a beautiful person she is, and I am SO thrilled she is marrying someone as equally incredible!

She's lucky to have your friendship-- :)

Michele said...

That was beautiful! You have a way with words. I am so happy for Andrea. I've learned that women need friends to survive this crazy busy life. You are both lucky to have found such a special friendship.