Tag Archives: sisters

On my Sister’s Engagement

Standard

Hello everyone! My name is Teresa. I’m Selina’s older sister and Matron of Honor. First, I just want to say how happy I am that we have all just witnessed this truly beautiful sacrament of Holy Matrimony between Selina and Andrew. And I have just one thing to say about it… FINALLY.

In all seriousness, though, this has been a long journey.  Selina was saying that as of yesterday, she and Andrew had been engaged for seventeen months.  Now, I know that they didn’t necessarily plan their engagement this way, and it’s been difficult for them to wait so long to finally be married.  But I just want to say that it has been one of the most beautiful engagements I’ve ever witnessed.

I was blessed enough to move home just a couple months before Selina and Andrew were engaged, so I was able to be there—and to be with Selina—for much more of it than I would have otherwise. As Selina’s older sister, I can say that she and Andrew both have grown so much these past seventeen months, and I want to tell you all about a few of the virtues that I’ve witnessed in their engagement—that I know now are going to be hallmarks of an amazing marriage.

I think the first big challenge in Selina and Andrew’s engagement came the spring after Andrew proposed, when they decided it would be best for Andrew to take an opportunity to work and teach with a school in Urbil, Iraq.  I remember Selina coming into my room shortly after they’d made the decision, and she was just crying.  At first I thought she was crying because it would be so hard for her to be away from Andrew.  But in fact, Selina was crying from joy! Because she was grateful for the opportunity, because she was grateful for Andrew’s courage in taking the position, and because she was filled with an unexpected peace that they would emerge from that challenge all the stronger.

It was beautiful to see Selina’s faith in that moment—faith in God, in Andrew, and in their relationship.  In that moment, my little sister’s maturity and self-sacrifice amazed me.

And then, as you all know, Andrew was accepted into Officer Candidate School midway through his time in Iraq.  And he and Selina made another difficult decision: for him to come back, go to Rhode Island, and commit to the U.S. Navy. One of the biggest challenges that came with that decision was that the timing of this whole wedding was thrown into complete turmoil.  As was mentioned last night at the rehearsal dinner several times, both Selina and Andrew are planners. Andrew’s being in the US Navy made it really difficult for them to begin to plan either this wedding or the rest of their lives together.

But again, I witnessed Selina rise to the occasion with so much sweetness and grace.  You all should have seen her in the months leading up to this day. Her concern with the material details of planning a wedding sort of fell away, and she told me, “I don’t care.  I just want to be married.” I admire so much Selina’s ability, amidst the stress of planning a wedding (not to mention being IN SCHOOL), to focus on what really matters. Because your marriage is your vocation.  It is THE MOST important thing that God has put in either of your lives.  Everything else is secondary. And you have both shown that you understand that.

Andrew, I am so happy to welcome you into our family.  Because I see these things about Selina—that she is selfless and faithful and sweet and gracious—but I think you see them even more.  You see that you are the luckiest man in the world, because you could not ask for a better wife.

And Andrew, I want to tell you one more thing that I think you know: Selina is so proud of you. She is so proud, that I am sometimes embarrassed to take her out in public because I know as soon as I turn my back she’ll start talking to a complete stranger about you and your accomplishments, and this day, the day she gets to be married to you.  You deserve that pride she has in you.

This has been a long journey for you both.  But you have shown that you have faith in God, you have faith in each other, you can roll with the punches and you can come up with the knowledge of what is most important in life.  You are going to have an exceptional marriage, and I could not be more proud.

Congratulations Selina and Andrew.  Many blessings for a beautiful marriage and life together.  I love you.

Bride Wars

Standard

Introduction (written c. November 17, 2012):

Okay… so I wrote this post a while ago, actually, when Selina was home for Labor Day and I was really struggling with jealousy over her wedding. I was sort of debating whether or not to even post this.

I decided to because a) well it’s honest and b) I think it says something that’s sort of important. Plus c) it might maybe be helpful if you’re thinking of getting married someday or if d) you have some extra space on your prayers list.
The Post (written c. September 3, 2012):

For those of you who don’t yet know:

My sister Selina is engaged.

I am engaged.

I am older.

She is younger.

She was engaged first.

I am getting married first.

Two words, people:

Bride Wars.

I don’t know how it happened! And I can hardly remember a time when I have found myself in a less satisfactory position. I have been engaged in a spiritual struggle lately, in which I have been so (SO) tempted to see my life as (as Meredith so wisely put it) “a zero sum game.” That means: Selina’s dress… takes away from my dress. Her flowers from my flowers. Her adorable doily-candle-holders from my I-don’t-have-anything-like-that-in-my-wedding(s).

Awwww, sisterly conflict. It can be so cute if you’re tiny and Asian.

Now I want you to notice something about these examples. Dresses, flowers, doily-candle-holders: they’re are all… things. Things! Really pretty things, but things nonetheless. It’s not that I’m jealous of Selina’s fiance. It’s that I’m jealous of her things.

That is silly. That is really, really silly!

The first and most important purpose of this post is to ask you all to please, please pray for me and for all brides or brides-to-be! Because I’m pretty sure (is it wrong to say I hope?!?!) I’m not the only one who feels this way. And I super-de-duper don’t want to, and I bet other brides don’t either. Because really — why are we all getting married? Oh yeah because we’re answering a vocation. And being united in a sacrament. And loving another person more than ourselves. And all sorts of other things that aren’t at ALL compatible with envy. So their sometimes-coinciding is, well, really uncomfortable.

The other primary purpose of this post is to say that brides today struggle with envy, jealousy and greed because of:

  1. Well, original sin, duh, but also and more importantly
  2.  The constant assault on brides by the wedding industry. Which is often actually
  3. Assault on brides by the devil. Because what does the devil do? He attacks those things that are most powerful in the most insidious way possible.
  4. If you think I am going overboard here (see pt 7), yeah yeah yeah you’re not alone.

Nevertheless, I want to ask you to pray for us. For me, my sister, all brides (which now, as I’m re-writing this, includes Brianna! And my cousin Grace! Whoop! Our family is a-growin.) Because again, the devil likes to assault those things that are the most effective avenues of grace in our lives.

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Addendum (Written January 7, 2013):

Selina and Andrew have set a date! Please keep them in your prayers, since Andrew just went off to Naval Officer Training (I think that’s what it’s called?) in an… undisclosed location? Just in case?

Anyway, he’ll be gone for at least three months, and he and Selina are only allowed written correspondence. They are doing really great though, and I’m so proud of my little sister and how maturely she is handling such a difficult wedding planning situation!

I was so afraid that even after Dan and I were married I might experience some sort of retroactive envy for Selina’s big day. But: so far so good? I’m hoping this is due to the marital grace people keep telling me about, and that it’s going to stick around.

I did, however, have a nightmare that Selina decided she wanted her reception theme to be: bilingual. Not that that makes any sense. The point is, all the toasters had to give their toasts first in English and then in Spanish. So I was freaking out at the reception trying to write a speech that was both as heartfelt as Maura’s at my wedding… and simple enough to be quickly translated into remedial Spanish.

It was horrible. I was all like, “A bilingual theme?? Seriously Selina?!”

Totally something she would do, too.

396462_10152107553925363_1179304910_n

The sneaky little booger.