Every so often a moment comes along that reminds me just how beautiful life is, how breathtaking and perfect God’s story is for each of our lives. It is easy to look at the pain, to let the realities of darkness knock the wind out of our joy, our passions, our dreams. It is way too easy to give into disappointment, sadness, or disillusionment when we see so much hate and violence and broken promises in this world. And yes, these things exist and are very much real.
Life is beautiful. The pain we see and experience in fact makes love, beauty, and hope blaze brighter and fiercer. The darkness makes our joy feel more triumphant and meaningful. A story is not a story without its conflicts and struggles, relational tensions and antagonists. And sometimes, along the journey, we forget that we are living a story; and not every part is guaranteed to be wonderful. Oh, but there are wonderful parts, and that is the hope we hold out for.
Last weekend I had the privilege to stand with one of my dearest friends as she committed herself to her new husband. And I realized—as I watched these two give their lives to each other and glanced around at all the other wedding party and guests—that I was standing in the midst of a beautiful intersection of stories. The bride (Katy) and I have our own story. Katy has her own story as well as John, the groom. He and his best man had their story, and on and on it goes. Their wedding was like the culmination, or perhaps the climax of all these stories at last coming together and highlighting one particular story: Katy and John’s.
As I sat there at their wedding dinner just taking it all in, waves of gratefulness washed over me. Gratefulness for these friendships that literally wouldn’t have come about if God hadn’t made a way for me to meet Katy two and a half years ago. Gratefulness to be surrounded by people I didn’t even know existed two years ago. Gratefulness and awe that somehow my story met up with theirs. Gratefulness that Katy happened to meet such a wonderful man even when she least expected it, and gratefulness to be a part of their celebration, of their story. Whatever small role I have played, I have gotten to play it, and I am thankful.
Sometimes we just forget how special our friendships are. I know I do. I can easily give into feelings of loneliness, disappointment at my own unfulfilled longings, sadness or fear, worry about the state of our world. I forget to focus on the good, the beautiful. I forget to see the lovely things, to bask in the timeless moments and to thank God for how good I have it. Watching John and Katy last weekend gave me hope. They both found love, beauty, and healing when they least expected it. And so can I. So can any of us. Just because it was a celebration of their story doesn’t mean I don’t have a story of my own. See, all of our stories are different, but we get to be a part of each other’s all the same. We get to offer each other hope, prayer, friendship, blessing. It doesn’t matter what stage of life we’re in, what we’re experiencing or what we’ve been through. We can all encourage each other. Even just by living our lives. Even just by marrying our love or supporting our friends in their most special moments.
Today I am grateful for the beautiful intersection of stories I’ve come to witness and be a part of. Today I see hope, I see that I am not alone, I see that despite pain and struggles, I am a part of something good and full of joy.