Last month, my best friends got married. I've been friends with them for nearly half our lives and they're the kind of friends who are really family. We've been through so much together and it was such an honour to be part of their special day and to watch them step into this new chapter of their lives.
They asked me to say a few words at their reception and let me tell you, it was the most nervewracking "commission" I've ever prepared. Lately I've been thinking a lot about love: what it is and how we can be open to more of it entering our lives. I have a lot more to say but today I wanted to share with you the words I spoke on that beautiful day in June.
I met Andrea and Eric in high school when I was 15. I was in the year ahead of Andrea at our high school, and I met Eric through Ethan - one of my closest friends. In fact, as crazy it sounds, a psychic actually predicted that Andrea and I would end up being friends for life.
And pretty quickly we became a tightly knit gang along with our other high school friends, which means I got to watch their relationship grow from awkward teenaged fumblings into something solid and real as the years progressed.
I’m sure you can picture those humble beginnings: evenings and weekends spent in our parents basements or bumming around in parks. We were all figuring out who we were in those days, testing the boundaries of our freedom. Andrea and I with our piercings and mohawks, Ethan with his skateboard, and Eric with his extreme stunts.
Even then there was such a tenderness between them, which really set their relationship apart from the rest of us and our more misguided teenaged love interests. Eric had sworn that he wasn’t going to date until he was 25, but he’d found the woman who was worth getting over his cynicism for.
Andrea and I, and later Eric, also lived together in Toronto throughout university. This is a time that pulls two young couples apart as they meet new people, develop new interests, and ultimately grow in different directions.
But in this case the opposite happened.
I can remember one time, the three of us were sitting outside of my old apartment during the wee hours of the morning after celebrating the launch of a creative project that I was helping to create. Eric asked me why I’d recently had a semi-colon tattooed on my wrist and I explained that I think the semi-colon is the most romantic punctuation mark.
A semi-colon joins two independent clauses; two fully formed ideas that make more sense together.
That’s what Eric and Andrea’s relationship is.
Two people who are so full of life; so strong in who they are; what they believe, and what they’re interested in.
And yet they’re better together.
You won’t meet many men who will stay up all night helping his girlfriend make collages for her university classes. Or women who will support their partner in every hair brained scheme he comes up with - whether it’sor making a meat smoker out of a filing cabinet.
That’s what I’ve always been in awe of and it’s one of the most important things their relationship has taught me about love. Not to settle. Not to stay with someone who makes you small or tries to dull your light or change who you are.
To me, their relationship is like the banks of a river. It provides the strong support and structure they both need to flow through life exactly as they were made to.
I’m so blessed to have been born into a wonderful, supportive family but along the way, I adopted a second family as well. They’ve seen me through good times and bad, and even now that we’re separated by so much distance, I know we’ll always be the three amigos.
What strikes me the most today is how much love is in this room. We’ve come here from so many different places with so many different connections to the bride and groom. But whether we know each other or not, we’re united by a common bond: our love for these two. So when you’re meeting or reuniting through the festivities, remember that: you already have something pretty important in common.