Last Saturday, I took the train up to New York for my dear friend Sarah’s wedding. It was a quick trip in which I spent all of 18 hours in the city, wanting to get back home to spend time with my spouse and to rest after a very busy week.
Over the prior week, I’d had a couple of business development calls and meetings. I’d also had my first big client meeting, which I did virtually, but had to prepare for as if it were happening in real life: prepping a PowerPoint presentation, along with talking points, a full script, really. The call went extremely well, and I was so pleased. I was also exhausted.
Cut to arriving in NYC the next day for this wedding that I was so thrilled about. I arrived at my hotel around 3:30pm and had some time before the wedding at 5pm to take a coffee nap (one in which one drinks a cup of coffee, then lays down for 15 to 20 minutes—this allows the caffeine to infiltrate one’s bloodstream unimpeded). I was still a little tired by the time I got to the wedding, but I was game for a great time.
Sarah is one of my friends from college. She was a freshman when I was a senior, and we were in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship together. My first memory of Sarah is one in which I’d gone to a Chi Alpha event late, having come from a Goldman Sachs recruiting event. I was dressed appropriately in a black suit, black heels, and crisp white button down: the picture of a perfect little capitalist. Out of nowhere, it seemed, a woman’s voice came from the front of the room, “Wal-Mart is the worst company in the world! They don’t pay their employees and they’re horrible to their vendors!” I turned to see a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl wearing a hoodie and shorts, standing on a platform in the front of the room; she’d actually stood on a platform to say all this. I looked at her and sighed, and resumed my conversation with my friend about my extremely pro-capitalist recruiting event.
Opposites attract, it’s true.
I found in Sarah a kindred spirit in many ways: two girls from lower-class backgrounds from “broken” homes trying to make our way into new choices. We were learning how to be followers of Christ without the self-righteousness that holds so many from where we’re from. We shared the quiet loneliness that comes from feeling misunderstood by those who love us when we’re trying to make these new choices.
Sarah and her best friend Ola were sort of mentees to me. I encouraged them to be the most of who they were at all times, to love the Lord in the way they wanted to, to love others even if they didn’t deserve it. I felt, at times, a failure as a model of this myself, as I flat-out [almost] hated a couple of people, but then I realized I was modeling something else for them: reality. If there was anything I wanted them to know, it was that life was hard, but God was good, and He loves us no matter what we do.
Watching Sarah get married was like watching my child get married, and I cried like it. Maybe it was just the fatigue. It’s not the same, I know, but there was something there, some pride in seeing this beautiful woman love someone who loves her who she is, knowing that I encouraged her to be her difficult self (that’s a compliment). It’s a weird thing about getting older: everyone else is getting older, too. Even my babies.