When Best Friends Stick Together

 

I feel so grateful to have been part of my best friend’s wedding this past week. Having known Paul since the first day of second grade, I feel a tremendous sense of pride in our relationship, which now spans over two and a half decades. Grown up and now both in our 30s, the foundation we built long ago has stood the test of time, as well as a few other tests the universe has thrown our way.

I think of the stages of life we’ve transcended together thus far - from discovering the magic of creativity as playful children, to chasing (and sometimes fighting over) girls as pubescent youths, to our rebellious teenage years and the hard lessons we learned about destructive behavior... to now just wishing we were kids again. Looking back, and now more than ever, we understand and appreciate how lucky we are to have faced these stages together.

I liken it to a two-player video game; a game where each level is more challenging than the last, especially at eaches end, when it’s time to gear up for a “boss battle”. While we may have lost a couple lives in the process, we’ve also gained new skills, have recruited new allies, and have mastered the ability to work as a team.

Speaking of teams and new allies, I suppose it has become more than just a two-player game at this point. What started out as two best friends simulating lightsaber duels and wrestling matches in the basement, has expanded into a larger operation; a group of best friends that, while greater in numbers (three more dudes, two girlfriends, two fiancés, and now one wife), has never been more tightly-knit and dependent of one another. Of course, this unbreakable unit was on full display at Paul’s wedding.

It’s difficult to describe the feeling I had standing by him at the altar, with wedding rings in my pocket, a sturdy line of groomsmen behind me, and nothing but love and support all around us. It felt like a great responsibility: a responsibility to help represent that aforementioned love and support for Paul and Rachel (his wife), and to stand next to my best friend, as a reminder (to us both) of what it took to get here and how remarkable our friendship is. It was, and perhaps always will be, the paramount responsibility of my life, and I’ll forever be grateful to my bud Paul for the opportunity.

The game of life is a challenging one, yet I can only imagine how hard the single-player version must be.