Saturday, April 12, 2008

How deep?

We attended a rehearsal dinner for some friends of ours last night. It was interesting to say the least. Considering the only people we knew there were each other (Nathan, me, and Nathan P.) and the bride and groom, it was insanely awkward for us to be amidst a group of strangers celebrating the lives of two people we kind of, sort of know.  After our arrival, we found ourselves posted at a little place in the restaurant, waiting for the food to be ready so we could dive in and enjoy the festivity of flavor. After nestling in a little booth in the dark room, we couldn't help but observe the people in the room, the parents, the friends, the siblings, and relatives all here to celebrate these two getting married. 

Let me preface the rest by saying we know the groom more than we know the bride as he has been a semi-attender of Nathan's small group for the past few months.  What is interesting about the groom, Beau, is that he is a financial advisor for a living and never seems to come out of "sales" mode with anyone...even this small group of men who dive into community together. It has been a challenge to get to know the real man behind the curtain and feel as though there is a connection on both a personal and spiritual level. So, here we sit, feeling as though we're supporting the marriage of a guy we feel we barely know, and really struggling to put all the pieces together. We met his parents, who said how highly he speaks of the men's group and how much it impacts his life, when the two men in community with him have barely gotten beneath his name in the times they have spent together. Is it that they are so much deeper than he is? Or that he doesn't share but get
s so much out of others' sharing that he feels connected? It just left me kind of curious how the connectivity existed for Beau, when he had maintained such a distance in these relationships with the other men in the group. 

As it got time for the toasts, the oddity of the evening continued. It just felt as though those who shared relationships with him were all so very surface-level and trite and it made me sad. Do any of the people in the room really know the real Beau Parrish? Speech after speech seemed to confirm the depth, or lack thereof, and it was such an odd thing to be a part of. As I sat there, I was remembering our own rehearsal dinner and how different it felt. The people we had there were those who knew us at our very core and it was evident by what was said throughout the night. It just made me sad to get the sense that no one there really knows either one of them at their core. From our experience, their overly positive outlook and optimism lends to top level relationships without much depth. But what we left with was a mission to dive into them, to know them, to help unleash their true selves and experience a life they have, perhaps, been missing. As fairly young believers, I can imagine it is hard to change that "country club" mentality where you don't talk about your business to one that dives into the very soul of who you are and lets others come into that place with you. 

From the time we have been in Nashville, which hasn't been that long, we have encountered people that have not only challenged us to go there, but take us there on a regular basis. It has been one of the most freeing things in my life, to be completely open at my heart level, even broken at times, with fellow brothers in Christ who not only have my best interest at heart, but who push me to be a better person in every way. My relationship with Nathan has grown immensely. We are better friends now than we were even six months ago, and I didn't think that was possible. It's the most freeing thing I have experienced to date. The joy and peace it brings to my heart is indescribable and if we moved here for no other reason to understand the depths of one another's souls, and to encounter God in a new and remarkable way through each other and through friendships, I consider it all worth the cost. I pray that it only continues, the depth goes deeper, and that life becomes fuller. And after last night, I know who else I am praying this prayer for...they don't know what they are missing.


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