This weekend, one of my oldest and dearest friends said “I do” in St. Louis, Missouri, and I’m so glad and so thankful that I was able to be there for her! Jasmine, congratulations on a gorgeous wedding and an awesome party. Gordie and I were so thrilled to be included in the big day. It’s a memory we’ll cherish forever.
The wedding got me thinking about a lot of important things, like how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many old friends whose support, humor and intelligence never fail to leave me in awe. I’ve known Simone, Hayley, Sharon, Jaimie, Kate, Taylor and of course the bride herself since I was in middle school. And frankly, anybody who knew me at age 13, universally regarded as the absolute nadir of human emotional development, and still wants to hang out with me 12 years later must be pretty patient and pretty special. I love you guys.
The bride was just a touch too busy for our awkward prom photoshoot, but trust me, she looked stunning.
It was also wonderful to spend a little time being an independent adult like I used to be, before all these cancer shenanigans got started. Gordie and I took a chance on a small bed and breakfast just outside of a beautiful park, and we found it to be incredibly romantic and unique. We loved the character and intimacy of staying in a home, and I’m also not complaining about the complimentary fresh-cooked breakfasts each morning. It was our second bed and breakfast stay together, and I hope it’s a tradition we’ll continue well into the future. On Saturday day, being certified nerds, we explored the St. Louis Zoo (OMFG ZEBRAS, HIPPOS, JAGUARS), put our AP History classes to use at the Missouri History Museum (OMFG JEFFERSON, THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE, MARK TWAIN) and took a stroll through Forest Park (OMFG SUN, BLUE SKY, WARM GRASS AND MY SEXY BOYFRIEND BY MY SIDE, what more could a girl ask for?).
At 3PM, we headed back to the bed and breakfast to get ready for the ceremony at 5. I forgot that I have boy hair now, so I accidentally allowed the hour it would have taken me to get ready for a wedding back when I had curls cascading down my back. I didn’t need it; I was ready in ten minutes. Silver linings, eh? Honestly, I’m just thrilled that my locks held on long enough to make it to the ceremony. My little Justin Bieber meets Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face meets my brother’s second grade school picture pixie cut is actually really working for me.
Jasmine’s ceremony took place in the same beautiful church where she met her now-husband, and being surrounded by all that spirituality had me reflecting a bit on my relationship with God, which hasn’t always been roses and sunshine. In fact, if God and I were in a Facebook relationship, we’d label it, “It’s complicated.”
Since my diagnosis, I’ve struggled a lot with understanding why a loving God would choose to test me and the millions of other young adult cancer survivors with such a difficult and miserable disease right in the middle of what’s supposed to be the prime of our lives. Paradoxically, since I became ill, I’ve also felt myself becoming closer to God and coming to cherish my spirituality in a more intimate way. I’m not a church-goer and I don’t want to define myself with labels like “Christian,” but I see the beauty of creation everywhere I go now. I know that there is beauty and power and order in the universe, because in the darkest days since my diagnosis, I have found myself enveloped in love, comfort and peace that cannot be explained by anything other than the caring arms of a universe, a God, a Creator, whatever you want to call it, that knows I am made of the same atoms and elements as its stars and planets, and loves me completely and wholly.
Sitting in the church, my boyfriend’s arm around my shoulder and my high school friends laughing and chatting beside me, listening to Canon in D as one of my favorite people in the world made her way down in the aisle in a gorgeous white gown, I once again felt surrounded by the care and love of the universe, in awe of the beauty of life. Eating wedding cake, doing the Electric Slide, enjoying a glass of wine or five, letting all my friends touch the edge of my weird tissue expanders (don’t be too scandalized, the edges come virtually up to my clavicles) and dancing cheek to cheek with my love made for an evening so perfect, I forgot for a moment I’m supposed to be sick. I don’t think it gets much better than that.
Congratulations, Jasmine and Pat! May your marriage be full of nothing but joy, and may you always have a super comfy couch somewhere that I can come crash on when I need my fix of your awesomeness.