I had the beautiful opportunity to attend my two best friends getting married- to each other and it was such a special day. You may be asking, why I am connecting my life doesn't make sense with this glorious wedding but don't worry I will explain. Over the past two years I have often asked God, why my best friends had to move to Seattle, so far away from Nashville? I mean, it is frankly devastating to have local friends one minute and the next feel completely alone. Distance does that to people. The feeling of abandonment is probably the most difficult feeling to experience. Those who have, know that it is not fun. Our logical side knows that we are not really alone but our hearts don't always speak the same logical language.
If I think about it though, I know that if my two best friends still lived in Nashville, I would not have pushed myself to make such a huge jump. They had to leave. My life's boat had to be completely rocked for me to do something like this. They were not the only boat rockers of mine, there were others (things that I am not quite ready to blog about) but the boat the past couple years shook hard.
I know that I would be very content living around the two of them all of the time, it is comfortable and they make me happy. I was reminded how happy I am when I am with them during this past weekend, but I was also reminded that living near them is not my reality anymore and that they have their own path to go on.
I was asked to write a speech for the wedding, and I am not going to lie I was struggling with this. I knew that my love for the two of them runs so deep that I was scared I wouldn't make it through the speech without my eyes becoming clouds full of rain. When I think of them, I can't help but be happy, excited for, thankful, filled with gratitude, loved, and feel alone, sad and just miss them like crazy all at the same time. Too many emotions to make it through a speech. I guess it just means I really miss being with my friends.
Anyway, the speech finally came to me. I realized that all of our paths, have gone the way that they are supposed to and that they will continue to go ways, some different, some the same, but we all have places to go on this journey of life. I am so glad we all met because how our paths crossed led them straight down a new path in life, called marriage. And if they didn't move, I wouldn't be on this new path in life called, UKAdventure. Yay for paths, right?
For those of you who are curious about the speech I have posted it below. It was written with love. Laura and Meagan also greatly contributed in the writing/development of this speech as well, two beautiful bridesmaids and friends of mine. I was thrilled to be able to travel with Laura, deepen our friendship. We were both reminded that we have a great friendship that can be attended to a bit more and I was able to get to know Meagan and I am thrilled for this new friendship I can begin to build.
I wish you all well on your paths of life. Always pay attention to who you meet because you never know how they will make your path/journey greater. And remember, things will make sense at some point- it just might take a while. Other things, might never make sense.. but hopefully those are the small "whys" that you forget in the long run :)
To My Dear Friends, Kim and Joe:
Good Evening Everyone. Thank you for coming out to this wonderful celebration. This really is my best friend’s wedding, and if you have seen the movie, no I am not after the groom. But it’s my two best friends getting married – to each other.
I stand here today with two wonderful women, Meagan Robinson and Laura Shipp. The three of us are delighted to be part of this special day.
We thought we would give you some of the back-story to how all of this came to be. To be honest, Kim and Joe’s story shows how cool the world really works, and why all of our paths lead us to certain places for a divine reason. Divine paths, if you will.
In 2008 I moved to Nashville. Joe also arrived in Nashville around the same time. I was a Sign Language instructor at a local community college, and Joe was my student. I couldn’t understand why a person who got a PhD by the age of 26 was taking my class. A person without deaf family members or friends wanted to learn how to sign. This rarely happens. It was a divine path.
Our friendship was slow to develop; I was his teacher, after all. But Joe stood out. There was something special about his desire to learn and to challenge himself. He also challenged me, something I grew to appreciate about him.
He specifically challenged me to think outside the box. One day in class, he stood up, drew an imaginary box around me, and physically moved me outside the box. I can honestly say that since meeting Joe I have literally stepped outside the box.
Kim came into my life early in 2009. I had gone on a few dates (OK Kim, I will admit it; they were actual dates) with this guy a couple years before. I had no idea that he would end up introducing me to the woman who is now my best friend. A divine path.
While interpreting a play, I ended up working with a friend of a friend of the guy I had gone on those "dates" with (See, a divine path.) So I give him a call to tell him how small the world is. He asks about my house (I had bought it around the time I had “dated” him and there was a huge crack in the floor.) I tell him the house is great, but I had just gotten rid of a crazy roommate and needed a new one. He says, I kid you not, “I know someone. She is picky and she may not like you, but she needs a place to live.”
So Kim comes by to look at the house. She says to me, “It’s OK.” I walk her out, and my gut feeling is she is not moving in.
A few weeks later, Kim who is vacationing in Paris, sends me an email saying she still doesn’t have a place to live when she gets back and wanted to know if it was OK for her to move in. I say, “Sure.” I later found out it was to be completely temporary, as she quietly refused to sign my lease so that she could bail if need be.
We chat a bit. And then, boom, she sends me a list of her rules. 10 of them to be exact… all the way down to which day we would be cleaning together.
Kim moves in. This is when I first met Laura.
I met Kim playing softball, as the Dodge’s Fried Chicken team. It was 2006, and I was just married, working from home, and living in a new city where I knew like one person. A girl named Karen. Karen had invited to me to join her women’s league softball team so I could get out and meet some new friends.
Well, I went to the first day of practice, and Karen wasn’t there. She had gotten into a little car accident – nothing major – but she was out for most of the season. So there I was stuck playing softball with a team of total strangers. And anyone who knows me knows that this utterly terrified me.
But that’s where I met Meagan and Kim. We started out as teammates who barely knew each other and ended up friends. It was a divine path.
Kim and I met in 2004. Also through softball. She has been with Matt and me through all our mountaintops and valleys. My prayer is that Matt and I can return the same love and comfort through her and Joe’s walk of life, and continue to be part of their divine path.
Don’t forget, Meagan, when you met Joe, you played a wonderful hometown cop … in other words, interrogating Joe to make sure he was good enough for our dear friend.
So back to Joe. And how he and Kim came to be.
Joe would often come over, and he and I would make dinner. One night, shortly after Kim moved in, Joe was over for dinner and Kim walked in. A divine path.
My memory may be a bit fuzzy, but from what I recall, Kim said “Hi.” Chatted with me for a minute and then promptly went upstairs. It turns out they had briefly met before. And let’s just say it wasn’t love at first sight. It wasn’t even like at first sight. Actually, they didn’t really care for each other at all.
After that first (well second) meeting, we did a lot together. It was Joe and Stacey; Kim and Stacey; and then Kim, Stacey, and Joe; and now Joe and Kim.
Looking back it was like the three musketeers. Or even better, Three’s Company. (Joe did move in with us for about a year after we rescued him from his farming adventure gone bad. A divine path!)
Movie nights, game nights, trips to the Smokey mountains, cooking, eating, building fences, tearing down fences, more adventures than I have time to recount.
Joe taught us about all types of things. A quality that so many people love about Joe. As I looked back on my email inbox the other day, I came across the first email Joe ever sent to Kim and me. The subject line reads: Joe is not full of shit. You open the email and it says, “Just to prove I am not full of shit. I give you CycleBeads. (If you are not familiar with CycleBeads, they are for natural family planning.) Your very own Cyclebeads are in the mail.” Awesome.
When we each met, we needed friendships.
Laura When Kim came into my life, I was a newlywed living in a new city, with very few friends, struggling to adjust to my new role as wife. She brought fun and laughter and friendship to me at a time when I really needed it.
Meagan Kim came into my life at a time when my own marriage was going through a bit of a stormy season. Kim brought me much joy and comfort through this time.
Stacey We all met at different times. Added friends. Dropped friends. Went on adventures. Made memories. Over time, merging into a wonderful extended family. All divine paths.
Joe and Kim are my family. I look at Joe as a wise older brother. I sometimes want to wring his neck. But at the end of the day, he is just someone with the biggest heart I know who wants to make the world a better place. And part of that is making my best friend happy.
And Kim, she is my “God Wink”; she is my sister. If you don’t know what a God Wink is, it’s those special people that God puts in your life, and then he gives a little wink to all those people partying in heaven and says, “They have no idea what I have in store for them.”
We have laughed; we have cried; and we have each been each other's support systems for many years. That will never change. As we all return home tomorrow, and then I move next month to a place over 4457 miles away, know that no distance or time change or life event will ever keep any of us from being here for you when you need us.
We meet people at different times in our lives for different reasons. We all have divine paths.
Kim and Joe have moved out West. And Laura, Meagan, and I are thankful for all of you here. You are their Whidbey Island Family.
We are sad that we are not all together, but we will return to our homes knowing that Kim and Joe are well loved and well taken care of. Thank you – all of you.
And remember, the next time you meet someone new, he or she could have been put in your life for reasons beyond your understanding. It could be a divine path. You could be meeting your future husband, your future wife, that oddball blind date who will eventually introduce you to your best friend. You could be meeting your God Wink.
Kim, Joe... I love you both. The two of you have made my world a better place just by being a part of it. I have known you each separately, and you are both beautiful people, remarkable people. Together, you are complete.
This poem has been written by Megan Robinson, she has a deep love for literature and knew that Kim and Joe had entered a poetry group. Beautiful!!!
Busty City Streets
All I hear are horns and beeps
Busy, busy noise.
To view the someone
To call beloved.
Who knew throughout all the distractions of life
you would be joined husband and wife?
Oh, so much more to explore
Now that you are on this rocky shore.
May your union be sweet
As you cling together
At his mercy-seat.
May your union be sweet
Now, one with one, hand in hand
Kim, Joe is your forever man.
Treat him gentle and kind
Slow to speak, quick to listen
Give him your utmost attention.
Joe, darling Joe
May your love overflow
Like the melting snow
On a warm winter's day
Bringing much comfort
With a tender touch
That quietly tells Kim
You love her so much.
Meagan To Joe and Kim, As the Lord grants His children grace and mercy every morning ,may you give each other the same daily grace and mercy, fresh and new as the morning dew, continual, unchanging, without end.
Laura To Joe and Kim, may the love that you have for each other continue to grow, so that years from now when you look back on this day it will seem only a small flicker compared to what is to come.
Stacey To Kim and Joe, to inspire each other to do the things you never thought you could do alone.