Over the past few weeks I’ve had a chance to experience many different levels of love. With the recent tragedy that has happened in Orlando, I’m making a point now more than ever to see the love in as many relationships and interactions that I can.

One month ago from this post, I got to do something that I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would get to do. I got to preform a wedding ceremony for two people that I love most in this world. My dear friends, Tommy and Cathy Fergerson. From the moment that they asked me to marry them, I was so overcome with joy. Weddings are often the happiest day of people’s lives and I got to share in that moment. Though the day itself was colder than any winter day in Florida, it was a beautiful Colorado day to merge together two happy lives.

During my quick weekend trip to Colorado, I got to visit with friends that I grew to love while I was living out west. I got to spend one last glorious weekend in a home that I helped to build with my brother, Caleb, and dearest friend, Amanda. We stayed up late watching silly shows and had heart to heart conversations about family, career and love. Leaving those two in Colorado breaks my heart each time I have to do it. But I know I can send them all the love I want through texts, calls and Facetimes.

I have a relatively big family. I’m lucky enough to have three brothers and one precious sister. My oldest brother, Dean, is in the US Navy. He is stationed on the USS Carney. This ship calls Rota, Spain it’s home. The time difference tends to be hard for communicating, but we were able to find time to video chat on a Saturday morning this past May. I had no idea how much I missed him until we started talking. What I thought would be a quick call turned into a 2 and a half hour conversation about our family and our lives. We had an exceptionally thoughtful conversation about his experience with having a younger sister with a disability (more on that at a later time). I plan to save up all of my pennies to visit him in Spain for New Year’s eve this year.

My most wonderful experience focusing on love has been with my best friend, Curt. Through all of the hate that has been spread around our community, he has stayed himself. I have had countless moments getting to laugh and joke around with this human that brings me so much joy. Whether it’s sitting in a pew at a somber vigil, looking like fools knowing all too well that we are captivating everyone’s attention or sitting on my couch forcing ourselves to eat mass quantities of mac n cheese and chocolate cake (a winning combo, I might add), he manages to make me feel like I am the most fierce person in the world. For that, I love him. Gay, lesbian, black, blue, Muslim, Christian, disabled or not, he has taught me not to dwell on things that upset me. Through his friendship, I know what it means to drop everything and be there to support someone for any big or small reason. Though he claims to be tough, he has been there for me during all the highs and lows I’ve had since living back in Florida. I am so grateful for his friendship, and beyond ecstatic that I get to spend time with him each week. Any thought of other people not feeling this way about him, because of who he chooses to love, just makes me want to cry.

I hope that I will never know the kind of hatred it takes, to cause harm to another living being. And I hope that I can always look past what others see as sin, to see the wonderful, caring, thoughtful people that I get the pleasure to know in this life. I can’t wait to appreciate and love every new person I meet, and I hope you can do the same.