Lesson from a Wedding Weekend: The Celebration of Life

This crazy little thing called life teaches us some stuff. I’ve come to believe two things fairly concretely.

  • Life is God’s greatest gift to humanity.
  • Love is our greatest celebration of that gift.


My old buddy Michael got married this past weekend. I’ve tried to wrap my thoughts around the meaning of it all for some months now. On a pessimistic, impersonal level, it’s just a wedding. They’re only slightly more significant than birthdays. But this wasn’t impersonal. I was a groomsman, and I needed to wrap my thoughts around it in a more concrete manner.

I briefly entertained a mostly plagiarized thesis about the best relationships giving us roots and wings, trying to force it into the perspective of Michael always treating others with the strength of stable practicality and blending it with the kindness of optimistic dreams. It’s a rare combination, and while true, it also felt like I was missing the point. I wasn’t invited to the wedding because I have anything poignant to say about love. I was there because I knew Michael. That relationship was my portion of this love-day, my license to celebrate life.

When we were 15 years old, Michael and I talked about what tattoos we’d like to get. He wanted to get a tattoo of the word “HEART” placed on his chest, right over his heart. I’m glad he didn’t do this because all I could envision was him being the most ripped deuschebag running into the wave pool of Kansas City’s renowned Oceans of Fun. But I’m glad he told me he wanted it, because it defines something about my friend that I’ve known to be true for a long time. The guy gives 100% of himself. He’s the best avatar of “in for an inch, in for a mile” I’ve ever met, and if that picture at the top of this post doesn’t sell it, then this video sure as heck should. He’s obviously all in.

Love, the celebration of our lives, is experienced in a hyper-personal way. I’m an analytical guy, and that nature often causes me to put everything in a viewing glass, far from hands on. Farther from an engaged heart. I talked about tattoos, I’d never experience one. Well, shame on me. My takeaway from Michael’s wedding is something he always knew. You have to be close, passionate and raw if you’re going to love. And in doing so, it’s your best chance to break the metaphysical boundaries, to say “thank you” to God for giving you a life.

This is the banner picture on my co-blogger Tommy’s Facebook page:


He gets it too. It’s more of a pledge than a picture. Let’s all get on board.

Thinking of picking up a purple jumpsuit,
Dusty “Raw” Riedesel

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