Today, I had a flashback as I watched one of my lifelong best friends kneel with her new husband as the pastor prayed with them at the end of the wedding service. Though we were praying, I decided not to close my eyes. And a memory of the fifth grade came flooding back. Our teacher had just finished worship with our class in our Seventh-day Adventist elementary school and told us to kneel as she prayed. I was a defiant child, who never closed her eyes for prayer, thinking that was only for “grown ups.” Until I looked over and saw my best friend Vanessa, kneeling next to her desk, hands folded, head bowed, eyes closed. And I thought, if Vanessa can close her eyes during prayer, than maybe I should too. This was only the beginning of the many ways that Vanessa has impacted my spiritual life over the years. As I stood next to her at her wedding sixteen years later (!), I wasn’t keeping my eyes open out of defiance, but so I wouldn’t pass out during the prayer. Hopefully a more legit excuse this time.
Flashbacks like that have been visiting me all week. Last Sunday, we (the bridesmaids) took Vanessa on a brunch cruise on Lake Michigan in Chicago. Also on the cruise was a group of thirteen year girls celebrating one of their birthdays. As I looked back and forth between our group, who had known each other since early elementary and had all turned thirteen together ourselves, to those little girls, wave after wave of nostalgia crashed over me. Bike rides, summer camp, class trips, junior high crushes, good times, bad times, everything just came back. And as the week wore on, something began to sink in as it never has before: childhood is really over. I’m a grown up now.
I’ve been to my fair share of weddings over the last four years, and I have enough coming up in the future that I practically have set up a separate bank account for gifts and dresses. But even though I’ve seen some very close friends and childhood friends marry over these past few years, no wedding has tugged at my heart the way that Vanessa’s has and caused this realization of the onset of adulthood in the same way.
It’s not like I’ve been oblivious to the fact that I’m an adult now. I’ve been enjoying most aspects of being an independent adult for quite some time. But something about the anticipation of Vanessa’s wedding gave me pause to say good-bye to my childhood.
Maybe it’s because it was more than just her wedding, but that it came at the same time as my own graduation from law school and the other rapid succession of other recent events that have made me realize that life is no longer as simple as it was when I was a child, and I have to confront life as an adult now.
Or maybe it’s really is just seeing my best friend get married.
Either way, I’m not really sure where to go with this post. There is so much I want to say to Vanessa: how proud of her I am, how happy I am for her and Moses. While the written word maybe the best way to express that, I don’t think this is the place.
For now, I will say, Vanessa, thank you for being such a good and faithful friend in this first quarter of our lives. I know our friendship will never end, but now it must change. And that’s a good thing. Many blessings my friend, as you and your companion navigate this new phase of life. You’re an even more lovely grown up than you were little girl, which says a lot. I love you much.