bigger pond


Back in our CovCol days, Noel and I lived on halls in the same dorm that had (helpfully, for our purposes) proclaimed themselves to be “brother and sister halls.” This was a nice idea. Under the guise of spirituality-glazed affection, it gave some members of each hall their most regular and sustained contact with folks of the opposite sex. Occasionally, Second South would grow distracted by the bright young things on Third South or Third Central would saucily invite Sutherland to dinner. But, in a rather impressive commitment to hall-to-hall fidelity, Second South and Third Central managed, overall, to maintain this purported “brother-sister” relationship.

Clearly, this racket worked out well for us.

When Noel and I got married, I was ushered into a sub-coterie of Second South: Manville. The Manville boys were a big part of our lives in Chattanooga. We ate Sunday suppers and watched soccer together. Noel and I counseled several of them through relationship beginnings, endings, and false starts.

Noel, meanwhile, became privy to the energetic, and generally loud emotional lives of some of my Roomates in the Lord. On occasion, he was asked to speak in defense of his entire gender. He remained unperturbed when Rachel and I would dissolve into tearful messes on his couch. He didn’t understand the girls, per se, or why the decibel level needed to be so high, but he loved them because of what they meant to me.

This weekend is the third Second South + Third Central marriage in the last four years and the second Manville + Roommates in the Lord wedding. Brien and Kelly’s wedding weekend extravaganza in Ft. Lauderdale is bringing together some of the people who know me best and who are dearest to my heart. It’s a family reunion, of sorts: two unrelated but tightly bound groups of friends who have history, traditions, and plans for the future.

In our card for Kel and Brien, we’ll tell them how precious this group of friends have been and how delightful it is to have them joined together, again.

Because, like your mother-in-law told you, you don’t marry a person.

You marry the family.

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