I am cross-posting this with Faith Dance:
"Those who witness a wedding ceremony are privileged to draw near to a concrete, loving union of two Christians--a community of disciples--that gives a taste of the spiritual communion among all Christians united in Christ." Julie Hanlon Rubio, Catholic theologian
"Those of us who have experienced the abundant being that can come from a deep personal relationship with a person of the opposite sex would never speak of our relationship as 'just.' Calling these relationships 'just' friend is not only misleading; it trivializes the relationship in a way that seems sacrilege." John Scudder & Anne Bishop
Three of my closest and dearest cgfs, Jennifer Ould, Susanne Osborne, and Jennifer Roach were all at my son Jonathan's wedding and reception. I've been wanting to write on this for a couple of weeks but I've been at a loss of words.
I was absolutely thrilled that my three closest opposite sex friends were able to share my joy over Jonathan's wedding. This was an amazing wedding and one subpoint to the joyous occasion was my sheer joy of the Jens and Susanne sharing the greater joy with Sheila and I. I dearly love all three and celebrate them in their own unique beauty. Sheila knows and loves all three of them, too. How do I write of such complex joy?
I have one wife. One and only one wife. I share my life with Sheila and I am transparent with her in a way that I don't with my other cgfs. My wife Sheila has first and foremost "claims" on me and what we share is the totality of our lives(as I see it, the distinctive, "one flesh"). Even if one of my cgfs lived with us (and Jennifer O. has albeit for seven weeks) for a significant period of time, Sheila and I, because we are married, would still share a totality of our lives together. In friendship, the totality of two lives are not shared together even though friends (same gender or cross gender) may share great spiritual, emotional, and material depth between them, it is never about the totality of their lives.
The friends may take on deep kinship-like ties and intimacy.
In terms of frequent contact, depth, etc. Jennifer O. is my closest friend. We're prayer partners. We have a pretty deep, ongoing prayer intimacy. She lives in Chicago suburbs but she lives an hour from me. But in our current practice of intentional friendship and community, we keep in touch with each other daily and set aside one evening a week to connect f2f. Jennifer and I are soon approaching ten years of friendship.
Jennifer R. lives in Seattle, but she is another dear and close friend. I came to know Jennifer several months after Jennifer O. Although she lives in Seattle, we keep in frequent contact and we pray once a week.
Susanne is a relatively "newcomer" onto the scene (compared with the Jens). We've known each other for seven years. We met in seminary class. Our friendship began to ramp up 2 1/2 years ago and is blossoming leaps and bounds. Sus has indeed become a very dear and close friend.
To share Jonathan's wedding with these friends was joy x joy x joy x joy. I don't know what that equals but it is deep joy.
Then, to have them all sit at the table with Sheila and me after the reception, how do I express the deep sense of gratitude and joy over that? I enjoyed dancing with all three of them!
This indeed was a public expression of the kinship-like depth of my friendships with these 3 women.