A Lesson on Weddings and Friendships

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One of my best friends from college, Clint Rosenblatt, is getting married on Saturday. It’s the latest in a series of walks-down-the-aisles those closest to me have taken over the last few years. Those of you in your mid-to-late-twenties, especially in the early commitment-heavy Southern states, undoubtedly know the feeling of constant marital ceremony bombardment that occurs at this age.

I’ve said my congrats for months to Clint and his lovely bride-to-be, Katherine. The wedding gifts have been sent, the blessings have been given and the Biblical verses I will read at the event have been chosen. And yet, until last night, I didn’t feel truly happy for the couple. Despite the warm words of support I’ve offered up to them both, there’s always been uneasiness just below the surface of my skin, an anxiety I hadn’t been able to shake.

So I sat down and confronted this sinking feeling. Did I have concerns about Katherine as a person? Not at all. Every time I had spoken to her provided an enjoyable encounter. She was extremely relatable and caring, and our few discussions with each other were always good.

Was I worried about Clint’s future? No, not really. Despite Clint being one of my best friends, he also knew I was one of his toughest critics. He could rely on me to shoot straight with him on the life decisions he made. This decision, though, seemed like a great one. In the time I had spent around both of them, he looked happier and more fulfilled than I had ever seen him.

Then why did I feel discontent? What was wrong with this whole set-up? In reality, there was nothing wrong with the set-up. There was something wrong with me. For the longest time I avoided it, but it was time to confront the fear that I had not been able to pinpoint and label.

Greed is the toughest thing to admit, especially for those of us who view ourselves primarily as being “givers.” Contrary to popular modern conception, greed is not just a symptom of monetary possession. “Greed is not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue,” Andy Stanley said. Ah, yes – now I had a diagnosis for that uneasiness. It was greed.

When we have such great friendships in our lives, we often, and sometimes unknowingly, put our friends in boxes. They come to carry a certain special meaning to us based on similar interests and personalities. We rely on them to fulfill these emotional obligations not out of love for them, but for our own personal need and support.

And Clint has always been an unbelievably great friend to me. He has never wavered in physical and emotional support when I truly needed him. Because he was genuine about all aspects of his life, from his life goals to what films sent the strongest message to him to his constant desire to eat and socialize, I felt like I could only be genuine around him in return.

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He has seen me at my best and at my worst (and I do mean, worst). Every time I spoke with Clint felt like entering into a private bubble, where the rest of the world would momentarily pause, and I, with all my ambitions and insecurities, could talk to him honestly one-on-one. They were discussions that made you appreciate the value of a phenomenal friendship, one that enriched your life instead of simply filling time.

Over the past year since Clint moved away from Tennessee and started dating Katherine, I felt as if the friendship I knew was slowly drifting away. Conversations between became less frequent. And as he has been on the verge of entering a new chapter to his life, the task of getting both of us back into that bubble has seemed almost impossible.

And then I think of the time he, selflessly sacrificing his time, became an assistant to me in one of my journalism jobs because I had too much work and needed an extra hand. I think of the numerous late-night conversations we had on movies over a box of pizza (or should I say multiple boxes). I remember Katherine and him preparing an unbelievable Oscar viewing party for me earlier this year, and then, just a few days later, making a four-hour drive to Henderson from Jackson for my mother’s funeral.

That was the Clint I knew. It was the Clint that was one of my best friends. I didn’t want to lose that Clint. And then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me last night: I’m not losing that Clint. He’s still the happy, engaging guy he always was. He’s still one of my great friends.

What I needed to lose wasn’t Clint, but my own greediness and possessive thoughts, because that’s not what love is. Clinging to others based on past memories and expecting them to be constantly available for our personal benefit isn’t true love between friends. I had to let go of that and come back to where I knew I needed to be.

Most of us have moments like this, ones where we grasp for the personal label we’ve attached to someone in our life, only to discover the action is pointless. The truth is, I’m proud of Clint. I love him so much and could not be happier for Katherine and him. The time has come to pop the bubble I envisioned and let those genuine beliefs we once shared strictly one-on-one flow freely, uninterrupted and not personally possessed.

My Bible is ready for Saturday’s ceremony. My anticipation is there to meet many folks I normally don’t get the chance to see every weekend. And now, I can honestly say, my heart is ready to bless this loving couple and wish them the bright, joyous future they both deserve.

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Posted on by Alex Beene in Assorted Wisdom, Bright Spots, Featured

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