-Day Four. This past weekend I got the privilege of attending one of my all time best friend’s wedding. I was given the gift of being in the bridal party and the whole thing was a whirlwind of emotions. It was the first wedding I have ever been in, and that signals to me the inevitable truth that I’m growing up. The kids I grew up with are finally in the stage of life we always thought we would never reach; instead we thought we would be riding our scooters together for the rest of our lives. And yet there I was, looking on my closest friends join in a lifetime bond of love and commitment. They said their ceremonial goodbyes to their families, and with a barrage of roses, we sent them off to the real world. This is the part of the pre-graduation build up that reminds me of how blessed I am to be in the place I am right now. I looked around me and I see people that have shaped me to be the man I am. Everything that I have been affirmed for in my character can be attributed in some aspect to the people who stood around me during the ceremony. My laugh, my confidence, and my over excitement for any and all things comes from the men and women that have encouraged me to be the person I am today.
I looked out onto the Shenandoah horizon and could see God’s gift for the ceremony, the beautiful sun rays shining on the valley that would welcome in the joining of two families. I thought back to all the times I had talked to the groom about the beautiful woman that he was about to marry. I thought about all the nights we stayed up debriefing dates, fights, and awkward texts all culminating into this moment. And honestly, another thing was realizing that I forget to wear an undershirt and the anxiety hitting, worrying about the sweat that was accumulating in the 90 degree weather. We were told by the groom that this was no longer a “nonsense zone” and that seriousness was the name of the game, but I couldn’t help but turn to my right and crack a joke to the groomsman next to me. The euphoria of the day just couldn’t be contained in one single emotion of seriousness.
Then it was time for the open mic, the bride and groom had already kissed to seal the deal and now everyone was gathered to celebrate the rest of the evening. I was nervous with all the family and friends around, but I knew that I wasn’t given my skills for public speaking for nothing. I decided in the last minute I would wing a speech, so I nervously asked for the microphone. I honestly can’t tell you what I said, the only thing I can remember is feeling like what Superman must have felt when he first learned that he could fly. It was like my whole life flashed before my eyes, and I could see all the pain, joy, and excitement that I had shared with the newly wed couple. I was on top of the world, I could feel the love in the air and I knew that all I had to do was tell them how much I love them with all my heart. I was met with laughs and smiles, but the most rewarding was looking over to two of my best friends with tears in my eyes and saying, “I can’t tell you how much you guys mean to me, you guys have changed my life radically because of all the love you have shown me. I don’t know what I would do without you guys and I love you”. That’s all that I can remember and will be forever be written on my heart.
Weddings are great. Weddings bring together the past, present, and future and bring back a charm into the air that every family and person needs. But honestly the best part of the wedding for me, was not the vows, the first kiss, or the dancing. The best part of the wedding for me was standing outside in one of the “unimportant/passing” moments next to my best friends and my family looking out to the beautiful view. I realized that my heart was not complete. I smiled as a tear rolled down my cheek as I realized that one day I would be standing somewhere next to some of the same people looking into the eyes of the love of my life. As I think about graduation, the fear, anxiety, and stress leave as I think of having that moment in my own life. For all the things I could dread about the next stage in my life, in that one moment it hit me that nothing else mattered. As long as I am surrounded by the people that have shaped me to be the person I am, who give me the most full and complete joy, and am standing out appreciating the natural beauty of this world, I will be okay. I will be happy. I raise a glass to you Kaelan & Brianna, may only happiness follow you from here on. And to the person who completes my heart, I can’t wait to follow you into the next stage of life.
Andrew (Hopeless Romantic)