Thursday, May 12, 2016

my sister's gift of grace to me on her wedding day

I am the oldest of three children and while I have siblings,  I was raised like an only child. For many reasons, I grew up alone. 

People always told me that some day my siblings would be friends. I never once had reason to believe them. It always felt like it was me and then them. 

I got married when I was 23. I was a baby. There were wedding choices I made because at 23 I didn't see any other way. I eloped & to this day, I wouldn't change it. 

My baby sister got married this past weekend and for some reason, she chose me as her maid of honor.

There are things her wedding taught me that I had no idea I would learn, grace I received that I had no idea to anticipate. 

To quote my MoH speech, my sister & I are as different as night & day. 
She is Nordstrom while I am Marshall's.
She is fresh fruit while I am a snickers bar. 
She is a bull dog and I am cat. 
But, regardless of who we are, we are sisters. 

No one as been where I have been more than she has. 
No one gets our broken, healing story like she does. 
No one has survived the wreckage with me like she has. 

When I was first married, people loved to indirectly (& directly) give credit to my husband for saving me. He was the good people saw in me. Those who had watched my life from a close distance weren't able to see how far I had had to come to choose him. The courage and strength it took me is also my sister's.  She chose someone who loves her. Ultimately, that comes down to her; she saw her own worth first.  You can't choose what's best for you, what's healthiest, without knowing you yourself are worth it & deserving. For that I am so proud of her

My sister had every freedom, every reason, not to choose me to be her maid of honor; nothing except blood obligated her, yet she picked me. 

Post wedding I can't help but wonder, was she afraid I wouldn't come through on my duties? Did she have any doubts with her choice?  If she had freedom, would she have picked me all over again?

Here's what I learned from watching her navigate HER beautiful wedding day, she picked me on purpose & it was her choice. 

Like I said, my sister is a bulldog in the most loyal and strong of ways. You can't tell her to do something, she does it because she wants to. Why it didn't dawn on me that picking me wasn't excluded from that is beyond me. 

My sister showed strength and determination over her wedding day that I ran from. I have a persistent inability to honor my dreams & worry about others, cater to others, self sacrifice. That all meant that MY wedding day meant I had to run. My sister? She honored her dreams, her husband's wishes, included respect of all of her parents & stayed the course. She stayed. She dealt with whining, fits, expectations, immaturity, generosity, ALL of it. It wasn't easy, and she stayed the course. 

So there came her wedding day after months of planning & navigating problems. My sister stood in the face of anxiety when expectations didn't meet reality and while she asked for space from everyone else, she invited me in.  I was the one with her in the moments leading up to her vows, standing to gather her bouquet, and scooping up her dress for bathroom runs & helping her change for her honeymoon getaway. What right did I have to experience that with my sister? Honestly? None. What my baby sister did was show me grace. She trusted me to love her, serve her, and know how to be the calm she needed. 

I've been her sister for 30 years. I can shamefully assure you May 7th was the first day I had ever served her selflessly & whole heartedly. May 7th was the first time I loved on her the way I love on those nearest & dearest to me in their times of need. 

So, Sister, thank you for showing me grace. Thank you for choosing me, trusting me, inviting me in to your moment to let me love you the way I've always wanted to, to serve you in the way you deserve a sister to serve you, to intimately witness your courage & strength, and above all, to truly be your sister.  I am so deeply proud of you. 

Oh, & just so you know, "I could never love anyone as I love my sister." -Jo March. 

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