Weddings have moved to a new level of existence. They have become a metaphysical life force based solely on the merit of their function in society. Have you ever noticed how nearly anything can be justified for the sake of keeping the wedding’s holiness intact, or how everyone bows backwards for a wedding’s smallest whim? Dreaming little girls and mothers are no longer the delusional parties involved—it’s the wedding itself. And for this reason, the wedding is what I will blame on the events surrounding the last five months of my life.
Backpedaling five months prior, life was simple, and beautiful days seemed to fill the skies. Nothing could go wrong, absolutely nothing, but then news arrived that shook my whole body: My friend Robb had called with word of a life decision he had made over the weekend to marry his year-long girlfriend, Kim.
Friends of Robb saw it coming months out, and for this reason, we kept a healthy distance for a year, maybe longer. Everyone loves to attend a good wedding, to see a friend off into destiny, but being in a wedding is a different bag of treats. It’s one thing if it’s your best friend, but when the friend is sub-par, there is a little moral dilemma going on in your mind. The internal question immediately posed is, “Would I ask this person to be in my wedding?” If the answer “no” comes fast and easy, then a horde of questions follow, all starting and ending with, “Why me?”
So, this was the predicament that came. Without hesitation, my lips uttered, “Sure, I’ll do it, thanks for thinking of me.” And with less than five seconds notice, I was scheduled to be part of the big event. The months passed, while the couple played the typical role of getting stressed and tense at a moments notice. Several times I lost the commitment to the hundreds of other things going on in my mind, but it still seemed to pop up here and there in random conversations.
Absolute commitment came when I was fitted for the $125 tuxedo. Excitement came, prolonging my pain, when I found payment could be made upon the tuxedo’s arrival.
Fifteen days before the self-proclaimed joyous occasion, I received a call from a friend in Nashville offering of a touring job with a fairly well-known band. Years prior, I took a last-minute jump and toured with the band for a three-month stint covering the entire country. This year’s stint would leave three days before the wedding, but this wasn’t even a thought.
I was elated to be offered not only one position, but two spots on the tour. I was to help run sound for a side-stage and drive a rental box truck through the night. The dual-role job would be my best-paid job I ever worked. I prayed about it, sought the advice of my parents and talked to friends and family. Everyone agreed that it was a good opportunity. My dad even said, “You would be nuts not to take it.”
After the blessing from the entire community, I realized three commitments, or obstacles if you will, lay in the path of joining the six-week tour. There was a year-long commitment to my youth group’s ministries team (a part-time job that could be put on hold) and the wedding.
The first promise were easily broken. My big selling point was the six-week duration of the tour. Somebody could blink while I left, and catch me upon return. My next move was to approach Robb about the wedding. As an Internet prodigy, I had researched all available airline tickets, and the only deal was not a deal at all. It would cost $750 to fly in and out the day of the wedding. I quickly decided that there had to be something in life “bigger” than weddings. There must be a powerful source that is bigger than the bond of matrimony … possibly money.
It was a long drive to the north side of town that gloomy Friday evening, when I was forced to face Robb. I took my 12-year-old brother David for protection. People generally try to avoid cussing and screaming in front of cute kids. The welcome was friendly, and as the idle chat died, the opportune moment came. Robb was slightly shocked; he called his fiancé in the room. She was relatively calm. Overall, things went well. I found out that Robb had broken a promise as a best man in a friend’s wedding a month before the big date. Leaving the couple in minor-shock, they assigned the chore of finding an adequate replacement.
Robb has lots of sub-par friendships, so I thought this would be a non-task. My first prospect was my brother. He quickly resisted with saying he planned to teach me a lesson on commitments. I asked another mutual friend, and he claimed a “moral obligation” would keep him from filling the role. Within a day, my top two prospects were axed. The draft had just begun, and I was already looking at the guys in the second string positions.
By this time, the tour position had already been accepted. I assumed a friend would help me out in time of need, but everywhere I went, there was a resounding “NO.” The only offer to date, my 55-year-old father, would make a portion of the wedding party eligible for free coffee at Hardees. Running out of plausible conclusions, I decided to run an audible.
Money had brought the problem, so I thought money would fix the situation. Offering a tuxedo rental and $500 in cash, my position became much more enticing. There must have been a sudden change of heart, because the first day I had three offers. The spot went to my friend who needed the money the most.
I was disappointed that it all came down to money, but nonetheless, my obligations were over … or were they?
A week before the tour packed up and left, I talked to Wayne, and he said there were problems with the rental of a truck, and my job was potentially canned. Breathe in; breathe out … “Say what?” I was in disbelief. Wayne said it may go through, but he was waiting on a couple of things. All the arrangements were made, friends and family told and all commitments broken—or rather, bought out.
Life seemed to lull the week before the wedding. When I heard final confirmation that the tour job was canceled, there was no surprise. My heart stilled, and life seemed to pause for an endless time. Before I knew it, the wedding that I didn’t want to be a part of was now costing me more than $650. What had I done? There must have been a mistake I made years ago which led me to this place. There really is no big moral to this story, wish there was, but so much for love, or money, for that matter.[Stories on RELEVANTmagazine.com are user-submitted. The viewpoints expressed are the opinions of the author and do not necessary reflect the opinion of RELEVANT magazine. For exclusive in-depth stories, subscribe now to RELEVANT magazine. If you are interested in submitting an article, please check out our writers guidelines.]