I've worn my share of satin and strapless gowns, carried bouquets and endured updos. The old adage "three times a bridesmaid, never a bride" used to sting, but it's been about 12 times now, so I don't let it bother me anymore.
My best friend gets married in two weeks. A crazy, whirlwind, surprise relationship. We talk about how six months ago we couldn't imagine this happening. Now we can't imagine it not.
She's not the first best friend to get married, there have been plenty of those. But there is something uniquely different in my heart about our friendship and her marriage. And you might be surprised when I tell you it's gladness.
That's all, just gladness.
For every friend who has walked the aisle, there has been a stab in my heart. A knowledge that things were changing and I was not only powerless to keep them from changing, but I was also powerless in joining along in their adventure. Now, as friend after friend has gotten married, had one, two, three babies, bought homes, fought through finances, planted gardens, settled down, remodeled, I've felt that kinship drift down the way of life and growth.
I spend my weekend mornings alone, sipping coffee and writing. I work in an office 9-5 every day and spend my evenings doing whatever I want. The thought of having to wrestle over finances doesn't even occur to me, it's simple and easy when it's just me. The only discussions about birth-control are hypothetical and shrugged off. My life, I know, is easy, enviable, maybe, at times by my once white-dress wearing friends.
I've envied their lives too. Trust me. (Though I suppose that's not hard to believe.) There's something about stability, deep love and marrying your best friend, raising kids, planting gardens, even arguing about finances, that is just so beautiful to me. I want that. I do.
But not at the expense of gladness.
I've been surprised at how easy the gladness has been for me this time around. How every discussion with her boyfriend about rings, and what she liked and didn't like, every bit of talk about her beautiful new/old home, and every time I couldn't help but smile at her happiness, I've been surprised at how easy it's been to genuinely feel that.
I really mean that: surprised. I sometimes want to pinch myself, ask myself if I'm sure it'll stick, but let me assure you, it'll stick. Here's how I know:
Singleness doesn't scare me anymore. Oh, it's not a state I relish or dream about being my life-portion. It's not something that I think will be the most fun, most selfless, most adventurous way of life. It's not something I don't think about when I am alone and feeling it acutely. I just mean, it doesn't scare me anymore.
We have settled into a comfortable routine, singleness and me. I hope that routine never turns me into the crazy cat lady, I hope it turns me into a happy, joy-filled, adventurous single person, one who is filled with gladness at every physical representation of the Christ and His bride. I hope that the comfort of my singleness pushes me to productivity and points to Jesus. I hope it shouts the gospel. That, like Paul said about the single woman, I would be concerned about the things of the Lord, how I can please Him.
This would make me the most glad. I think.