Saturday, January 11, 2014

To my friend Hilary on her housewarming, birthday and wedding day...

Cherokee Princess Noccalula Gadsen, Alabama (2012)
Noccalula was to be married to a man from a neighboring tribe
to build peace, but she was in love with a man from her tribe.
On her wedding day she jumped to her death.
At the the end of the day or the beginning in my case, it is important to reflect on what truly matters. If you were forced to pick one or two things, leaving everything else behind, what would they be?

I start with this question because in writing my maid of honor speech I more clearly understand what truly matters.
My best friend is getting married today. I didn't know of her plans to wed until last week but her text message made it clear, "I need you to make a speech. Maid of honor shit."  I'm looking forward to this wedding simply because it's unlike anything I've ever been to before. Why is it unlike anything I've ever been to before? Because it's a surprise. The guests believe they are attending a housewarming party, which it is, but a wedding at its core.

As for my job of explaining over 10 years of friendship in only a few words is quite a task. My first memory of her was in a public speaking course we shared, specifically when we were paired up, interviewed one another then presented each other to the class. Nervous as I was to present, Hilary's life story interested me. I remember learning about her eight month stay in Australia, her exciting adventures there and how spirited she became telling the tales. I felt inspired by her. Up until meeting Hilary, it had been difficult for me to get close to people, especially women. But Hilary was different. She was who she was - independent, intelligent and uncompromising on her goals, which I admired. As we grew closer, I gained an even deeper awareness of who she really was, a humanitarian. Her compassion oozed through her in her volunteer work, fundraising, coordinating any and every kind of charity event.
Family in the Woods
My most memorable experience of Hilary happened shortly after we graduated college. I planned on going to Costa Rica for a month with a guy friend, who at the last moment canceled. Heart broken, I watched as this trip, a once in a lifetime experience, slipped through my fingertips. Hilary, upon hearing the news, made a life changing experience that still amazes me. She charged her credit card and came with me, simple as that, because that's who she is. Her resilient and selfless nature allows her to reach outside herself and give wholeheartedly. What a beautiful person to call friend. Her love for her family brings her to tears, something we all can take a lesson from. May Hilary's love teach us a lesson about what truly matters.