In 13 days!!!
Love love LOVE our sexy little bachelorette! I’ve been so lucky to know Jen for almost 13 years now. Although we’d been singing together since my first year in high school, I think it was really Mr. Stuben’s pre-calc class that was responsible for us coming together as friends…the whole misery loves company thing, bonding over a shared torment. And I’ve been following her lead ever since: first to UVA; then to Boston…now I’m trying to drag her ass down to Philly…the weather’s better here, I promise!
I met Dave about a month into their courtship in the summer of 2006. Inevitably, when I describe them to others, one of the first sentences out of my mouth is, “It’s really hard to imagine a more perfectly matched couple.” They’re wonderful on their own, but definitely even better together. And, they’re one of those rare partnerships with which you can easily enjoy an evening or outing and not feel like a third wheel (they’re both so inclusive and generous in conversation)…which, during John’s first two years of residency in Boston, was a pretty sweet deal for me.
Well…you can probably guess where this post is going…something about Anna crying in public again. A little over a month ago, in our Doctoring small group, we went around the room and were asked to share how we felt we were maintaining a work-life balance in med school. Unlike other occasions, this fit of tears came on without warning. I explained that I felt I did an okay job keeping a life outside of school but that I felt that, especially this past semester, I hadn’t been a particularly good friend to the people I love. Just the day prior, I had sent Jen a lengthly email explaining that I didn’t think I could be at her wedding, which is in Massachusetts the weekend before our GI final.
I knew when I decided to enter the medical profession that I would miss a lot of important events. I already have. But Jen and Dave’s wedding might be first one that gnaws so cripplingly at the bottom of my stomach. It makes me sick that I’m missing it. 132 people attended our wedding, and I swear that now, and likely for many many years, I could recite every name on the guest list, and describe some of the intimate moments so fleetingly exchanged as I brushed their hands when my dad and I walked down the aisle, as John and I made the rounds during dinner, as we reveled on the dance floor. Weddings are important; declaring a union in front of the people you love most in the world is a completely unique experience. And I so very much wish that I was a responsible, efficient enough student to feel like I could make the trip to watch Jen and Dave get married without compromising my education. In part, I already regret my decision.
Recently, I’ve been sharing a lot of Jen memories with my close friends at Penn. It’s felt good to think and reflect about some of the many many things about this woman that make her a tremendous human being, a passionate musician, a dedicated lawyer, a courageous world adventurer, and one of the most caring, generous souls I’ve encountered. I know you and Dave will have an exceedingly happy marriage. I’m having a hard time finding the words for my wishes for the two of you, so I’ll leave with the words of Afghani-Turkish poet Mawlânâ Jalâl ad-Dîn Muhammad Balkhî:
May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.
No one can capture them better than the illustrious Julie Napear Wichern.