It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… these words echoed in my mind as I smoothed out the tulle fabric of my wedding dress and took a deep breath. As I looked out over the clear Missouri morning, the muffled sounds of processional music and soft giggles of flower girls waiting their turn reminded me to focus on the joy of the moment.
Even with all the love surrounding me, even knowing that my future husband stood at the end of a flower filled altar waiting to vow his life to me, my heart felt as though it would burst from disappointment.
You see, my best friend for 20 years had decided that this would be the day she would end our friendship.
I was a bride suddenly without a maid of honor, starting the most important day of my life without the support of the childhood friend who knew me better than I knew myself. The best friend who always knew how to get a smile out of me, who had always been there through the thick and thin of growing up. And now, over a stupid dress, a piece of fabric, for goodness sake, she had decided that she just couldn’t be there for me ever again.
“Kym, it’s time, honey,” the words were gently whispered by my father.
I nodded my head and tried to keep the tears from spilling out into my bouquet. Was this how I wanted to start my new life, as a victim? I realized in that moment that I had a choice as to how I wanted this day to go, a choice about what kind of memory I would be creating, and I chose to submerge my heart in the joy and love of the experience. I didn’t care that there was a church full of people waiting, I needed a moment to myself.
“Dear God,” I prayed, “I know that you have a greater plan for me than I can see right now. Please help me to shed this sadness so that my eyes might shine with joy as they meet my husband’s for the first time.”
I thought for a moment about all the people who were waiting, quickly going over the invitation list in my mind. Suddenly, I realized that I had missed the most important invitation of all!
“Dear God,” I began again, “please come to this wedding today. Know that you are invited – that you are always invited, into this marriage.”
As I finished my prayer, I felt a gentle warmth fall upon me. I raised my head and opened my eyes to a lovely sight, the sun filtering through the trees outside. My gaze followed a bright trickle making its way in through the window, then fell on a gentle sunbeam that rested directly upon my heart.
Inspired and serene, I rose to join my father, and walked down the aisle toward a beautiful man with a gentle smile. My eyes shone with joy as they met his.
Our wedding day was truly magical, and as we grew together in our new life, I soon discovered that I had a new best friend, one who could always make me smile and would never disappoint me when the chips were down.
A best friend who could tend to the garden of my heart better than anyone else in the world — myself.