I was the best man at a my friend Mark’s wedding this week, and spent much of it thinking about what I was going to say at the reception. And hoping I wouldn’t drop the rings. Because that would be bad. As I understood it, best men are supposed to tell embarrassing stories about the groom, stand a lot, face things, and generally be charming and fun. I definitely faced things and stood a lot. I discarded my speech before I got to the podium though, it just seemed kinda trite. Instead, I talked about something that had been on my mind all day, and I wanted to share it here.
When Mark asked me to be his best man, I was honoured, but also surprised. We’ve known each other for thirteen years, but had grown apart in a lot of ways. We didn’t live in the same town, and saw each other maybe once every few months for lunch or coffee. I thought Mark would have other, closer friends that he did more stuff with to stand beside him, but Mark understood something that I didn’t. We weren’t friends anymore. Friends see each other all the time, they get together and do stuff, et cetera. There’s a different word that describes people you maybe see once every couple of months, or longer. The people you stay connected with even if your interests are incredibly far apart. The people you may not talk to often, but you know that if you called them, they’d be there, and vice versa. And it’s not friends. It’s family. Mark and I aren’t friends, we’re brothers. We’re past all the little foibles that make friendships. We’re family. And he knew that. So he asked me.
That’s the funny thing about humans. We build communities. And not just in the sense of making babies. Mark and Carrie brought their families together in a celebration of their love. I stood in a room full of people I didn’t know and realized that all of them were my family now, because of Mark and Carrie’s commitment. It’s a funny feeling to have, knowing the thing that connects you to what would otherwise be a sea of strangers, and in that moment, I felt like the sky was the limit. Still do, a bit.See, I have this idea. Families isn’t something you can ever just have. You’re not born with it. You’re born with relatives. Everybody’s got those. Family is something you make, through trust, through commitment, and through love. I’m ecstatic to be a part of their family, and look forward to giving them my love and support for many years to come. I’ve remarked before that it’s been my privilege to meet a lot of people in my life and think that, if I do right by them, they’ll be with me for life, and my life will be better for it. Two of them just got married yesterday, so congratulations to Mark and Carrie Thiessen.