To the New Sister

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To the new sister: Thanks for making me cry.

Okay, let me tell the story. Back in November or December, we were having family dinner and my brother turned to me and said “I have something to tell you”. I asked what, and he said “I’m going to propose to Kayla.” And you would think I would smile, or laugh, or hug him, or slap his back and tell him I’m so happy and proud, but my very first instinct, just this deep feeling in the back of my stomach, was “Wow I’m going to cry”.

Now here’s what you have to know about me: I’m not much of a sad cryer. And although this has been changing lately, I’m not usually much of a cryer at all. I will cry in anger or frustration sometimes, and even shed a sad tear on the rare occasion, but it’s not my default. I managed not to cry in that moment because I quickly covered with the whole laugh/smile/hug thing and the conversation continued on with proposal plans and other such excitement. But since I was not particularly angry, frustrated, or sad, I was confused about that reaction.

I felt really guilty for a while! That was the totally wrong reaction. I remember telling friends about the night you got engaged, and they asked how I felt, and I said it again, “like crying”. Worst sister-in-law ever award, just go ahead and give me the blue ribbon.

And then on Monday as I stood up there in a brightly colored dress and watched you and my brother exchange rings and promises, that lurking feeling came back again. And this time I did cry.

I think there was a tiny bit of bittersweet-ness there… This was the kid who taught me how to read and build LEGOs and work computers and think deeply, after all. The weirdness of my brother growing up has not totally gone away yet.

But as I hung onto my bouquet and hoped no one could see that my eyes refused to cooperate, I realized what prompted that gut feeling in December and my tears today. It was the idea that in this broken world, there’s still good. There’s still love, as tangibly displayed by you two. There’s still people who choose to hope, even when it will be hard.

I realize it’s ridiculously sappy, worthy of a Hallmark commercial, but over the past few years I’ve gotten a spectator seat to watch you two grow together. I’ve seen two people embrace the mess, embrace the struggle, and intentionally choose the inherent difficulty of human relationships because you believe it’s worth it. You two choose selflessness and sacrifice, inspired by true and meaningful love.

The Bible compares the relationship between Jesus and His church with the relationship you two just began, and I can’t help but see the similarities too. Sacrificial, undeserved, unblushing and overflowing affection. Patient, kind, keeping no record of wrongs. It certainly doesn’t come naturally or normally. But we see God in that. The image of God shines in each of us when we choose to love the way you guys have chosen too. The same Grace that is Love, that loved us first, and that displayed that sacrificial love through Jesus Christ is the Grace that empowers us to love others. Sacrificially, selflessly, against all odds and human nature.

Choosing the mess isn’t easy, but I know you guys will make it work. The grace that will keep you together gives me hope, because there’s enough of that grace for all of us. For you, for me, and for humanity. It even makes me happy. Happy enough to cry.

For the first time in my life, Kayla, you made me a happy cryer.

Welcome to the fam. We couldn’t be happier.

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