The Bedside Manner of a True Maid of Honor
When deciding how much a person means to me and if he or she is truly a “best friend”, I normally test his or her character by asking two separate questions:
1.) Would I make him or her my maid of honor?
2.) Would I want him or her to be the first person I see when I wake up in a hospital after a terrible accident?
These questions might be a little jurassic. But, if you think about it, how much does the person mean to you if you say you are “best friends” but you don’t want him or her as your maid of honor let alone in your wedding at all.
I allow question #1 to symbolize all happiness for me in this extended metaphor. When figuring out how much a person really means to me, I think: Who do I want in the front of the church, right alongside of me when I finally get to marry the man of dreams? Who do I want holding my flowers and crying softly as I say words that will bind me to another life for a lifetime? Of course, I would want the same person who I call when my crush asks me out on a date. I would want the same person who I binge watch Netflix with. I would want the same person who is my running partner. I would want someone who is there for all the happy times and always wants happy things for me. This person calls on my birthday and buys me a thoughtful Christmas gift every year. This person wants nothing but the best in my life and wants to hear about it when I get the best.
But this person is not there when hard times come, not because the person does not care but something always gets in the way. There’s always a reason and when I need him or her the most, and he or she is not willing to drop everything. Maybe it’s not fair to ask that of one person. After a while, I quit telling the person when I am having a bad day or when that guy does not notice me enough to ask me out or when I feel too down and out to go running. These are the friends that I want to spend the happiest days of my life with because they deserve to be there. They will add to the happiness as they have continuously and consistently all these years, but we do not want to disappoint them when happiness seems to be far away.
We all have these friends. Admittedly, I am this kind of friend to many people, coincidentally with the people I was friends with when I was younger. I wish I was more than this kind of friend to these important people, but maybe we do not need each other in any other way than this. Because these friends are reminders that there are people out in the world who wish happiness on me and my life while I am wishing happiness on them and theirs–even if it is only from a distance.
The second kind of “best friend” is the one I call up before I call my parents. The one that is the first to know anything when I am freaking out because they are the only ones that can help me take a deep breath. The one that I go to when I have the worst break up in the history of my life and I don’t think that there is any way in Heaven or Hell that I could get up tomorrow because I could run into my ex. So, I go and sit on his or her doorstep and wait for them because if I called before heading over, I would not have made it through the phone call.
There is a reason he or she is the one that I go to first. This reason is that I know that he or she will have the exact words to get me back on my feet. And when he or she does not, and I just sit there crying my eyes out because I never thought hurt could hurt this much, they just put their arm around me and let me cry. I don’t even feel embarrassed and when I try to apologize they look at me like I am crazy.
These are the friends I want to see when I wake up from a horrible accident. Because my parents would be worried sick if I woke up and said that I am scared of dying. Yet, if I voice my fear of death to one of these friends, they nod and say, “Me too” and somehow it would make me feel better and less afraid just like these friends always have a way of doing.
These friends I can be brutally honest with and they do not think twice about it. I can ask ridiculous questions, and they just simply answer them. I can tell them my most shallow thoughts and they do not think less of me. These friends see me as a human but they also see themselves as humans too—no better, no worse.
I was trying to figure out for several weeks now why I can’t like this guy I have been seeing. To say he is a nice guy is an absolute understatement. He is the kind of guy I would be proud to take to my parents’ house, but also the kind of guy I can joke around with and have a great time (these kinds are a rarity). And I finally figured it out.
The biggest difference between these two kinds of friends, is that one of the types does not really know me and the other type knows everything. The maid of honor friends only know the happy me. They don’t know why I stayed up thinking last night, or that I think that much at all. These friends share experiences with me and share memories but I tell them little about myself. The hospital friends know everything about what I think, but rarely spend time with me. And when we do spend time, it’s mostly spent talking. From my experience, I don’t spend all my time talking and listening with these hospital friends because we are bored, but because we don’t have to entertain the other person. Talking is enough and really, that’s all we want to do because the moment either of us stop, we realize that no one else in the world really cares about any of that stuff except these kinds of friends.
Jesus had friends like these. Jesus had 12 disciples that he shared 3 years of his life with. But only 3 of them really knew the true side of him—these “hospital” friends were Peter, James, and John. Because when it all comes down to it, there just some people on this earth we want to be known by, and this number is few. By “known”, I mean that when I am dead and gone, I don’t want those people who barely knew me to remember me or to say fake nice things at my funeral. No, I want those people who really knew me (because I allowed myself to be known by them) to speak and to remember and to smile because in a world that has 8 billion people on it, they chose to love me. And I chose them.
And that’s why I can’t like this really nice guy because I don’t want him to known by me. I want the entire world to see Christ when they look at me, but is it selfish to want those few people to see what makes up the true me (as cliche as it sounds)? To be honest, those friends who I would want to see first when I wake up in a hospital should be my maids of honor. It should be the people who are the only ones that can calm me down and would drop everything when I call them. But what do I know? I don’t even have a boyfriend.
I hope you find friends like these. Because with friends like these, who needs anemones?