An Old Reflection
I wrote this three years ago. I’d like to think I’ve improved as a writer since then, but I think the sentiment is still true.
This past weekend I took a trip to Greenville, South Carolina, for my fifth and final wedding of the year. Weddings have taken on an important role in my life I wasn’t really prepared for. I’ve always been very sociable and outgoing, enjoying my group of friends. Despite being warned, I wasn’t prepared for the realities of postgrad; that friend groups shrink, people move away, and the number of chances to see friends again dwindles considerably as we get pulled in different directions. Weddings have now become flashpoints in our lives, where several dozen of us are gathered together again in the same place. Two of my dear friends were married this past Saturday, September 14th, and I was blessed to be a groomsman. Heading down Thursday night I spent the evening in their guest room, cherishing what may be the last large amount of time I get to spend with my friend, Clay, for the foreseeable future. Soaking in every minute, I knew that the dynamics of our friendship were about to change forever; certainly not for worse, and very much for the better, but as the end of an era of two bachelors being single 20-somethings, and now the beginning of a new era in which families became factors in our equation.
Greenville is perhaps the most idyllic city I have ever visited, and the time I spent there exploring the city with friends was some of the most enjoyable time of my summer.
One of my favorite parts of Greenville was the park on the edge of downtown, where many of us in the bridal party were able to enjoy the view of a waterfall coming down from the Appalachians. We soaked in the fading sunlight, relishing every moment of a perfect Friday night. Opportunities like these become increasingly rare postgrad. Many of us have stayed in the same general area, but we know that each wedding that goes by is one less opportunity to see beloved friends, friends that flew in from as far away as Los Angeles and Ecuador.
When days like today happen, when you begin to get a few anxious texts saying “Reports of a shooting in DC,” it’s easy to become absorbed by preoccupation with the evil in the world. It’s in those nervous moments of teetering on the edge when it is more important to think of love.
Part of what I pray every time a friend gets married is a prayer of thanks to God for showing us restoration and completion through marriage. God the Father has renewed us and raised us up to new, unending life through his Son’s death and resurrection, and in it we have become “new creations” as Paul wrote to the Corinthians. In marriage we celebrate two people becoming one, in which they unite in a new, holy way, and take on a new identity, similar to the resurrection we experience in Jesus Christ. Just as the Father adopts us into a new family, so do married couples now experience a new family.
Those moments are some of the most important, the ones I cherish above all — they’re the ones where we feel the love and pain of goodbye, where we are holding on to what may be the last time we ever see each other together as a group, as a family. It’s been 3 years and we’ve got a couple more weddings on the books for this group, and maybe one day my wedding will come too. I’m not quite ready for this goodbye.