Wednesday, July 13, 2016

One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.

Today is a very special day. Today, my sister and her husband have been married for three years. Happy Anniversary, Holly and Seth!

My sister and I made a pact a long time ago that we would both be each other's maid of honor when we both got married. I imagined our wedding days a lot when I was little, but I never expected hers to come so soon.

I remember the day Seth told me that he wanted to propose to Holly. We were in Minnesota for my cousin's graduation party. Seth and Holly were going to Disney World with some of his family the next month, and he wanted to propose in front of Cinderella's castle.

When he told me, my stomach dropped, and my head started spinning. Of course I was so excited for her, so happy for her. But this was my big sister, and everything was about to change for her. If you know me, you know I'm not the biggest fan of change, so while this news was super exciting, it also made me uneasy, nervous.

This had nothing to do with Seth, though. Seth treated my sister so well, and I could tell that they both really loved each other. Again, I'm just not the biggest fan of change, and a wedding is about one of the biggest forms of change there is.

The rest of that day, I helped to distract Holly while Seth asked for my parents' permission. It was so funny to me that she had no clue what was happening. Her life was about to change in the biggest way, and she had no idea. Instead we were just worried about getting the best piece of graduation cake.

The next month I went to visit Holly and Seth in Cedar Falls. We were going to see the midnight premiere of the final "Harry Potter" movie, so I decided to make a trip out of it and stay with them for a couple of days. Seth also decided that this would be the perfect time for me to help him pick out Holly's ring. So one day while she was at work, Seth's sister-in-law, his best friend, and I all went to help him pick out my sister's ring.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and Mom, Dad, and I get a call from Holly from Florida. She was engaged!

Fast forward another couple of years, and the day of the wedding had arrived. Of course we were all so excited and happy. But I also had a pit in my stomach. Not because my sister was getting married; I'd had a few years to get used to the fact that this was going to happen. I had a pit in my stomach because I had to give a maid of honor speech.

I spent the weeks leading up to the wedding watching hours and hours of maid of honor speeches on YouTube. Of course none of them were quite like what I hoped to do. Everyone knew I was a writer, had a way with words, so I felt even more pressure to say just the right thing.

Eventually I wrote just the right words and was happy with what I had come up with. But then the day came, and I realized that I was actually going to have to get up and read those words in front of everyone. My quiet, reserved, emotional self? Not the best public speaker.

The day was beautiful. The ceremony was beautiful. We were all so happy. I had actually made it through the ceremony with crying {or tripping}, and we headed to the reception where {gulp} I had to stand up in front of 140 people to give a speech.

The moment I stood up, unfolded my speech, and took the microphone, I started to cry. To this day, I honestly don't know if I cried because I was nervous, because of the beautiful emotional day, because my sister was married. I don't know. Maybe it was a combination of all of those things. But I cried through the entire speech. I'm so embarrassed thinking back to it now because I was so proud of what I had written, and it was all tainted by my tears and sobbing.

After a couple of minutes, I made it through the speech and was able to sit down. A huge weight lifted off my shoulders, and I could just focus on dinner and cake and dancing the rest of the night.

But the point of this post isn't the speech. It's love. Of course it's love! That was one of the happiest days of my sister's life because she had found the person she was going to love for the rest of her life.

Sometimes I think we lose track of what weddings truly mean. Sure, it's a day for family and friends to gather and have fun and celebrate. But it's also about celebrating love.

As I get older, I realize more and more just how important love is. I haven't found my person yet, but I know that day will come when it's meant to. But all love is important. The love from our parents and our siblings and our family and our friends. The love from a stranger who smiles as you pass them on the street. The love from the person who held the door open for you this morning. The love from the person in front of you in line at the coffee shop who paid for your order last week.

With everything sad and horrible and disappointing going on in our world today, remember to see the love that's all around. I heard someone say recently that now more than ever they have hope that our world will get better. I was confused by that, but he said he believed that because there are so many people working to make change and send love after all that has happened recently.

Be sure to show some love today. The world needs it now more than ever.

And to Holly and Seth, Happy Anniversary! Sissy, I'm so happy that you found the person you were meant to be with. And look at what your love has turned into: you have Calvin! Your family is so beautiful and loving, and I'm so happy for you guys.

Lots of love,

Paulo Coelho, "The Alchemist"