Tonight, my best friend said “I do!” to the man for whom she prayed to meet.
In fact, they both pray. That’s what makes it so amazing.
The glue of their relationship is good, old-fashioned faith. It was so refreshing to behold.
I wanted to speak up at the reception, but was too shy. So this is my belated well-wishing speech.
The best moment of their wedding, for me, was just before the vows.
They had begun standing facing each other, holding both hands. I noticed he caressed her hands with his thumbs. They were both so calm. And mostly, they made eye contact the entire time.
The intimacy was astounding, just witnessing it.
As the officiant prayed over their impending marriage, Leslie and Joe stepped in together. So naturally– like magnets. Their arms and hands were relaxed. Toe-to-toe, their foreheads touched gently. With closed eyes and flickering smiles, they leaned on each other and listened.
Together, they prayed over their future as husband and wife. Just watching them, I had a deep feeling of peace.
The reason Leslie is my best friend is likely the same reason she captured Joe’s heart: she’s a woman of indefatigable faith. Knowing her has inspired me and helped me grow in my own faith. And although she’s a Non-Denominational Christian and I’m Catholic, we always find the middle ground: a love for God and Jesus. She knows her Bible. She has deep convictions, to which she adheres. But she truly loves and accepts people with unconditional love and friendship. She’s the one I call when upset– I know she’ll listen quietly, with attention. She doesn’t gossip. Your secret is always safe with her. And she always remembers.
She makes sure to “like” or comment on every post I write– because she knows how much it means to me.
She’s been my rock– always reminding me who I am, to never settle. To rely on God’s timing. To remember that what I want– a sober, Catholic man– IS possible. And that I deserve it. She makes me laugh. She enjoys doing the same corny things I do. She moved to Texas not long ago because she felt God calling her to go and I miss her dearly. She indulged my propensity to take silly pictures every time we got together. As single gals, we spent a few Christmas Eve’s together. They were our Christmas sleep-overs. We’d watch a movie, cuddle up with her American Bulldog, Hodgins, and then in the morning, wake up and listen to Bing Crosby on vinyl and make pancakes. We bowled together on NYE, both sober. We went to see a hair metal tribute band at several venues. One time I got horrendously lost, and it took me seriously a full HOUR and a half to arrive. Rather than do the easy thing and venture inside to watch the show, Leslie sat at a table near the door, keeping a vigil until I arrived. Because that’s the kind of friends she is– she cared more that I got there safe. She wanted to be available to text or answer if I called, to help direct me. Talk about a wonderful selfless gesture. And when I arrived, she didn’t glare at me or lecture me about making her wait, like many would have. She merely ran at me in a full-force hug, squealing with glee that I was THERE! It was a St. Patrick’s Day show. We ran in together and danced front row and took pictures as always.
She is the Elinor to my Marianne. She and I watched “Willow” together– my first time ever! She loves Madea.
Leslie is a prayer warrior. How many times we’ve cried over the phone to each other, prayed it out. Or when I was dejected or feeling frustrated, she’d text Bible verses to me. She gives her full attention. She’s always excited to pray. When she does pray for me and with me, her words sometimes surprise me, because she always sees the best in me– things I don’t always notice in myself, but desperately needed to know. Affirmations that fit right into my heart.
Before she moved, she bought me a little red pin button that says “You are Loved,” in red and white, so that I wouldn’t feel alone without her.
You see the light of Christ in her, if you’re lucky enough to know her. She’s the kind of woman who shines a light for God without trying. It’s in her generosity, her patience, her empathy.
Her beauty radiates. She is a woman comfortable with herself, secure in the love of God. She knows that she is the Daughter of a King.
She was the first person ever to call me her “Sister-in-Christ.”
My dear Leslie, I wish all the joy and blessings that the hearts of you and your Joseph can hold.
I love you, I miss you, I look up to you.
Although I was flying solo yet again tonight– I usually am at weddings– tonight I felt hopeful.
And although I’ve questioned myself for ending relationships because of religion, tonight I was reminded that I’m on the right path.
Because you showed me that I deserve and want a man who will also pray WITH me, and FOR me.
You showed me, and all of us, that it’s POSSIBLE. Thank you.
I leave you with *my* favorite Bible verse, which I feel you embody:
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
And I’m delighted that I caught the bouquet!!
That’s gotta be good foreshadowing.