Growing Up Feels

About two weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating in one of my best friend’s engagements. He surprised his girlfriend and a gaggle of friends and family hid nearby. He bent his knee. She said yes. We cheered. I snapped photos. Phrases like “…so excited for you,” and “…pick a date,” floated above the clamor of congratulations and embraces.

Stephen York pre-engagement profile

Here he is, pre-question. Dapper dude.

The weird thing about this time is that I was, honestly, excited for them. This was a new feeling for me; in the past when I’ve attended such events, I couldn’t help but think,

“Are they really ready?”

“Do they know what they’re getting themselves into?

“Gosh they’re young..”

And I would be gripped with fear for my friends, because I just couldn’t see things from their perspective. I guess my point of view has changed a little.

When I was younger, I used to think of marriage as this lofty, intimidating institution. Words like “lifelong commitment” and “sacrifice” rang with a foreboding tone, and I saw it as a too-far-off-to-comprehend achievement that solidifies one’s acceptance into adulthood.

(If you aren’t already a confirmed adult, getting married to another person is like an auto-upgrade: it guarantees you’ll never have to sit at the kid’s table again. Or so I thought.)

I’ve seen a few years roll by, watched more couples walking down the aisle, and my tune has changed. Now when I think words like “lifelong commitment,” I hear, “lifetime adventure buddy.” “Sacrificial love” doesn’t sound so scary when I realize it is the most powerful kind of love—The same love Christ has for us—that when properly administered to a relationship, is a fertilizer with the power to transform lives.

Okay. Wow.

I don’t know what caused this perspective shift. Maybe it is witnessing my grandparent’s steadfast devotion to each other over the years (however begrudging at times) like a great redwood with roots deeper then you can see on the surface. Or my parent’s genuine, heart-warming laughter when they share a corny joke. Or seeing my peers getting married, having kids and rearranging their lives, because it isn’t about them anymore.

That’s probably what marriage is really about. Realizing it isn’t about you anymore, because there is this breathing, feeling human being next to you who you’d do anything for.

With this changing mindset, seeing my friends who know they are ready to take that journey together, that makes me giddy, and I can’t help but be caught up in the magic of it all. Yes, maybe they are a little on the young side, and no, they probably don’t fully know what they’re getting themselves into. But who really does?

The magical and encouraging and inspiring part is, that they know themselves and each other well enough to know that they want to embark on that journey together. That means they’re ready. And that is truly something worth celebrating.

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