There are many things for me to be excited about as the day approaches. In just three days I get to be married to an amazing, beautiful woman and begin the rest of my life with her. But before that [not to kill the lovey dovey mood], I get to hang out with some of the best men in the world. I think I need some preface.
After I became a Christian I tended to be more prone to be friends with the females rather than the guys. Really that was the first time ever in my life that girls seemed interested in hanging out with me, and they were nice young ladies and Christians, so it made them easy to talk to and be friends with. And even for a while at Trinity I still really connected with my female friends way easier than with the guys. Somewhere in there, at some unknown point, I decided that I should hang out more with guys than the ladies - and whatever it was, it just clicked. [Steph, I think you had something to do with this]. And I became more of a guy... guy.
Since then I have had some incredible friendships with guys, dudes, bros and men. When it came time to pick just four guys to stand with me at my wedding, it really was a tough call. There were a couple guys that had to be in there, and about thirty other guys that could fill the remaining two spots. It did help that I got to choose three ushers on top of that. But really, I could have picked any number of guys to be part of the most important day of my life and had no regrets about them being there.
And in a few days when the guys I know join me, I think it will resemble various scenes from Tolkien's Middle Earth. The scenes of battles, when aligned armies gathered, though different [men, elves, dwarves, etc.] they were united in one purpose. The purpose on Saturday will be to celebrate, but if we get a chance to kill some orcs, well, I won't be disappointed. Anyway.
I could briefly list numerous memories and stories of great times with the awesome men in my life, but I think I'll just give you one. We Beardenzians have a ceremony in which we take a man who is about to be married out into the secret realm of New Beardenzia [I realize that this doesn't make sense to half of my readers - just know that we take the guy out into the woods] and we pray over him and talk about him and some of the married guys give advice. It's really great. We did this a few days ago, and as I was driving out to [undisclosed location] I realized, "wait, this time the trip is for me. They'll be praying for me." And I got real emotional - but didn't cry. It was a moment of realizing that these guys care for me. And if every male friend of mine that cared for me was given a chance to be there, they would have been, and we would have filled the forest. And while they weren't there in person, they were in my heart and my memories, continuing to push me forward, continuing to laugh and cry with me, continuing to bear my burdens as I bear theirs, continuing to be my brothers and friends. They're good men you know. Not safe though. you have my love.
Dedicated to the following [in somewhat chronological order]: Dad, Grandpa, Mike, Chad, Jason, Ben, Andrew, Zach, Darol, Seth, Mark, Brandon, Brandon, Ryan, Josh, Andrew, Adam, Brad, Ryan, Matt, Matt, Graham, Zach, Josh, Nate, Brandon, Kyle, Mark, Bob, Justin, Adam, Jeremy, Baugh, Stu, Austin, Jon, Andy, Dave, Chris, Ryan, Ryan, Josh, Kevin, Steve, Adam, Alan, Todd, Marty, John, Nate, Derek, Matt, Ryan, Tonio, Matt, Dean, Ben, Tyler, Jon, Pete, Ian, Dave, Jordan, Matt, and, I'm sure there are more... And Jesus - thanks be to Him who created us to be able to commune with each other.