Gray haired friends

ImageDisclaimer: I will be reading this at the Martin wedding reception on Saturday. Please make sure this doesn’t get back to them until then. Merci. (I’m not expecting Andee to be catching up on my blog during her honeymoon!)

I knew that I would be a gray-haired friend of Andee Gray Martin when our friendship inexplicably grew in a year where we spent a grand total of five days together. Three days of those were the result of a giddy road trip I embarked on with Tyler, Kevin, and Steph where we endured five foot flash flood visibility and a hairpin freeway exit, introduced Kevin to bubble tea for the first time, resolved we were all madly in love with Cleveland and drove for almost equivalent amounts of time as the amount of hours we spent awake in Michigan. When we met up with Andee we visited the vacant state capital, modeled like music stars, and let a planetarium show mesmerize us. Potentially the highlight of the trip was our ability to cram five adult bodies into her one room apartment—albeit Steph slept under the bed.

The other two days that year were flyby hours in the mini-overlap when she was back at Messiah and me about to leave it. I hugged her and Danika right outside of Lottie when they’d just finished powering across the country, still singing “Magic, Magic, Magic” spent two nights in her room, and we savored and delighted in one another’s presence. I don’t think we caught up once; Andee and I already had this alive, dynamic, and flourishing friendship thing happening.

Every other interaction that year happened with special thanks to gmail, yahoo texting, and skype. China. Lithuania. Russia. Spain. Michigan. California. Pennsylvania. Europe. Asia. North America. So much geography and so little time.

I have this specific memory of procrastinating leaving for a fireworks show in Barcelona, the big, culminating one that served as the grand finale for Merce festival, because I was skyping with Andee. It was a Sunday night and I think I was confessing how ostracized and unlike myself I felt in these big expanses of the old city, apart from my 717 network of love. Eventually I left and suffered the consequences of tardiness—an inability to find my fellow festival attendees and having to crane my neck to view any time of sky—but who was I to care.

Several months later, I had adjusted to and fallen in love with the cadences of my big, bad Barcelona life and I had another painful conversation with Andee about loneliness and isolation though this time in Grantham and how hard it could be to bring the weight of Lithuania and the stuff of Michigan into Kelly apartments, nutrition classes and that stuff that makes relationships glow.

She cut and taped the after-notes of that conversation—and all of mine and Steph’s and hers somewhat spastic, semi-informative and surely all-over the place- records of life gmail thread into notebooks—testaments to 2010 and that year we had.

I love Andee so much. I love that she is marrying Jon and I think I really knew it when we all three found ourselves as the benefactors of three New York Yankees/Detroit Tigers tickets to Comerica Park back in April. I loved that Jon remarked that he enjoyed attending games more when someone who really understood the sport was there and made me feel not only like a baseball aficionado but potentially an expert by asking me questions about strategy and close plays and “Are we to assume he was forced out?” Correct.

But actually I loved their impending marriage when we all three sat around a table of a dinner that we had made and they offered me this space to blow up my ideas and bat them around with me and everyone refused to be defensive. There was so much open-mindedness, so much God be near, God is here, so much what-if fabric fluttering at the dinner table and so much white wine, goat cheese and sun-dried tomato sensibilities and I just wanted to feast there for hours.

We will all be so much better fed for this marriage and dinner table existing. Come and let us eat and drink to the love that the people that I love nurture, create and lavish upon each other.

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