Today my friends Tyler and Louisa are getting married. Here’s to them.
The first time I remember meeting you was in the laundry room of a Grand Rapids shelter as part of a college orientation serve project. I remember climbing on top of the laundry machine to scrub off an out-of-reach cabinet and stepping directly on the washing machine’s aluminum ventilation duct while climbing down. You helped me repair the duct, ensuring that our service efforts wouldn’t yield detrimental results. Thanks.
Weeks later, you told me about this girl you had met. You liked her and thought it could go somewhere. Louisa. Interesting name, I thought.
Later in the year, by then good friends, we learned that we had actually met much sooner, as naked toddlers in a bathtub. If I had known this earlier I wouldn’t have tried to exhibit and replicate the collected sense of cool I once thought you had. Once you’ve bathed with someone there’s no use trying to impress them.
I soon learned I didn’t have to put on airs. You became someone I could talk to about anything, from political opinions and sports rants to riffs on my inline skating superiority. Draining and droning as they might have been, those conversations mark some of my fondest memories.
People who don’t know you are surprised by the way you wholly and indiscriminately invest in relationships. I was. Lou might have been too. We’ve both benefitted from it profoundly. I know you will continue to do so. Not everyone helps an anxious stranger fix a washing machine.
First of all, your name is gorgeous and it suits you wonderfully.
Thank you for driving to Kalamazoo with me when I forgot to return that book to the library. Thank you for combing through Kollen Park for my still-lost car keys. Thank you for humoring me through these moments and the innumerable others when I’ve thought that my absent-minded senselessness would lead me to a near and certain demise. It is remarkably enjoyable to experience frustration with you. This, I suspect, can only serve a marriage well.
Outside of that one bathtub episode I’ve never known Ty without you in his life. Still I can say confidently that you’ve made him a better person, just as you do to everyone you encounter. You are a serious force for good in the world. You’re kind and caring in a way that transcends yearbook-style axioms and yanks at people’s internal organs. That’s no small gift, even for a nurse.
Ty and Lou,
So thank you for the book returning, appliance repairing, and failed key hunting. Though I know it won’t be, I wish your marriage to be free of those things. And if they must be, I wish those to be the worst of your problems, though they won’t be. And even when washing machines break and library books are overdue and car keys slide out of pockets and somehow elude detection even two years later, know that you’ve given me and a lot of other people an occasional, ever-slight picture of a world without those things. Thanks.
 As you know, I’ve changed my mind on this since becoming aware of your unbridled affections for the band Rascal Flatts.