My friend Lora is getting married this weekend. A wedding is one of the few important rituals we have in our culture. We make a big deal about weddings and we should. Marriage is important and sacred, but weddings celebrate more than marriage. Weddings mark transitions of identity. Whether in a big fancy wedding or at a quiet legal thing in a courthouse, there are rituals and special words that say: You are changed now. Before you were this. Now you are that.
It's a big deal.
I wonder if there should have been rituals and special words on the day I met Lora. Before Lora, I was one person. After our friendship, I've been another.
The day I met Lora I was hugely pregnant. Her special words when I welcomed her to our department: "Wow. You're huge."
I was shocked at first. But really, I was huge. Her saying so cleared the air. It was helpful to have it said. I got even huger, by the way. Lora thought it was awesome.
Lora tells the truth. Before Lora, I could tolerate non-truth from people. After Lora, truth is like fresh air and water that I have to have or I can’t be friends.
Lora listens. Before Lora, I was odd and boring. After Lora, I have wisdom that people sometimes even ask to hear.
Lora laughs. Lora remembers. Lora likes the gifts I give and I love shopping for her the best. Lora believes in spirit and magic and knows all of the good information. She is generous and funny and fun to eat with. She is so beautiful that when we go places, people on the sidewalk freak out a little bit and I always think it's so funny.
Lora stands up for herself. Lora is strong.
Her sweetheart is a lucky man and she is lucky in his love too. They are going to be graceful parents. At their wedding, she has asked me to say some words to affirm that the wedding will be a sacred space. I'm honored to do it.
But for me, the sacred space was called the day I met her. Before I was this. Now I am that. Lora changed me. She has spoiled me for any lesser friendship than being loved exactly as I am.
Now Lora goes into her new life and she will be married and his and still her own. She goes and I won’t see her much anymore but she will still love me, and all of her friends.
But she won’t be the same. She will be a married lady. She will live in another state far away. She will make a sacred home and spoil her family for anything less than the truest love and the lovingest truth. She will meet new friends and new young people who need her, and for them everything will be different after Lora.
Lora will change everything. I should know.