I am getting married in two days. On Sunday, I will be Mrs. Stephen Nyczak.
I love Steve for a lot of reasons. I love his quiet determination and his dedication to what is right. I love the way he cares for the people he loves and the love he shows my friends and family. I love his respect for the Lord and His creation.
I don’t write about him that much on this blog because it’s cheesy and annoying and also I know that love isn’t just the cheesy stuff. There won’t be any chalkboard signs with cheesy quotes at my wedding. (Okay, there is one Harry Potter quote—but only one! And it’s not on a chalkboard!) We aren’t writing our own vows about promising to always make pancakes on Sundays or anything nauseating like that. I know that marriage takes work, and we will hurt each other sometimes, and that we will face difficulties we haven’t thought of, and have to make tough decisions we can’t even anticipate. I know the statistics. But right now my heart is full of cheese—and the most indulgent kind. That spicy cheap queso—the kind you bought at the deli even though the lid was dusty and you’ve had a few beers. The kind you heat in the microwave until it’s dripping down the edge of the glass jar and then feel like you’ve never had anything so good in your life. Right now my heart is full of that. It’s cheese of feeling loved unconditionally by people who share your love of God.
Steve and I almost eloped. Well, we almost gave our immediate families a few days notice and just went to the courthouse. Actually, we were just at the courthouse to pick up our marriage license. While we were there, we talking about how eloping would have been so much easier and it would have saved us a lot of money. But the truth is, we’ve both been shaped and loved by so many people besides each other. On my wedding day, I will be happy to have them there.
My friend Emily will be there. She was my closest friend in college and called me everyday at five p.m. to wake me up from a nap to go to dinner. She taught me how to eat breakfast before class and how to love unconditionally. She woke up early and read her Bible every morning and though I didn’t do that, I was inspired by her dedication and bravery and strength. She wrote me notes and signed them “your sister in Christ.” This relationship changed my life.
My friend Kinnon will be there. She just flew from Texas to come to my bachelorette party even though she was flying up again two weeks later to come to the wedding. Though I grew up with her, I didn’t realize how much I missed her until I cried when we dropped her off at JFK, even though she reminded me I would see her in twelve days.
My sister will be standing next to me. I’ve had anxiety for a long time and it has displayed itself in varying forms. A few weeks ago, I had a minor panic attack and hyperventilated for the first time. It was scary. My nurse-to-be sister held my head in her lap and told me “it’s almost over” until I could get a full breath. I didn’t panic because a new school year is beginning, or because I’m about standing up in front of a hundred people and making a promise to the creator of the universe. I don’t know why I had an anxiety attack. I do know that I am afraid of hurting the ones I love. Because I have, and I will again, and I hate it. And though I’ve definitely hurt my sister, she still stroked my hair and reminded me of the grace of Jesus.
This is why I am so obsessed with real, selfless love. It’s not just because I’m getting married, but getting married is certainly a good time to reflect on what love truly is. Patient, kind, humble, honest, hopeful, forgiving, and never-failing. And also, sometimes, cheesy.
Caroline Higgins (’11) lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she spends the vast majority of her time teaching English Language Arts. You may also find her at barre exercise classes or playing (and losing) at bar trivia. She continues to be inspired by the energy and diversity of New York City and the beauty of that certain slant of light.