Sunday, July 24, 2005

On the Marriage of Friends

This past weekend afforded me the chance to celebrate marriage with numerous friends who gathered for the ceremony bonding my friend Adam with his bride. I was actually in the wedding party, the third time I've met that call, and I must say, I'm a sucker for romance. It's a beautiful thing to see two begin their journey together. It's also a slightly mystifying event. One day, you're physically and emotionally constrained, still living separated lives, still going home at night to separate locations. The next day, those lives intertwine, and couples go home together, leaving friends to go home alone. It's a bit sudden, all of it, kind of like a mid-sized earthquake. It strikes quickly, leaving things shaken, not crushed, altered, not demolished.

It's the cessation of the sharing of life's small processes that make the most impact, I think. After all, the living of life is mostly tucked away in odd moments here and there, with the brushing of teeth, the washing of dishes, the goofy hour of needed procrastination on the couch. It's in watching silly movies with your buddies, eating slice-and-bake cookies almost too good to be true, sharing heartache when you really should be sleeping. Saturday night, standing in the communal bathroom, I thought of how I'd never again chat with my friend over toothpaste and water. My mind shifted to the kitchen, where we've had so many meaningful conversations while cooking yet another pasta-and-sauce meal. My tour continued to the room where we studied together for hour upon hour this past semester, sharing jokes, listening to Mat Kearney's cd, and eventually getting a few Hebrew words memorized. It was in these moments, precious to me now, that a friendship was forged, and once forged, it was in such times that our friendship was strengthened.

As slowly as those moments passed then, they quickly come to mind now, pleasant if bittersweet. The room that contained great laughter, difficult conversation, and much discussion lies empty save for a lonely couch and a lamp without a shade. I went in there the other night and was reminded of the promise memories make to us, that though we may never hold them in substance, they pledge to linger on in heart. Sometimes, when brushing teeth, making pasta, or studying, they walk back into sight, perhaps a bit fuzzier, lacking details, maybe, but ever pleasant, ever sweet, always tinged with the sadness of a season passed and a chapter concluded.


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