Over this past weekend I was given an amazing gift: the chance to take part in the wedding of my little brother. This is the same brother who found a way to push every button I had growing up. He had the superhuman ability of being annoying at the same time he was being extremely endearing. I can remember days where he would seemingly push the limit to no end.
Then, somewhere along the way, he grew up. He joined the Army, he became a scuba diver, and all of a sudden he was getting married. I didn’t fully realize who this man standing before me was till I saw all the medals he was wearing on his uniform. His medals told a story: he had been places, he had done things. In that moment it was like a haze had been lifted.
I started scanning the crowd and seeing family members. My younger sister had a baby, my older sister had several babies, and all of a sudden I realized something: My family grew up! Cousins that I had once played with under the kitchen table now have mortgages, cars, and people they are responsible to.
The more and more I thought about it the more and more I realized that the people I once knew as a young man have all changed. Their lives have changed, their personalities have changed, and our relationship has changed. At the end of the day the only thing that hasn’t changed is my perception of who they are. I still remember them as the family I had growing up, and this wedding was a fantastic reminder of the truth: Those people don’t exist anymore.
The memories still exist, but the people don’t. Even the best things in life change. The relationships shift, some closer, some farther apart. The truth is that no matter what happens in life the people you knew back then are going to change. They will grow, they will have experiences, and they will look at you differently. This is a fact of life that cannot and should not be avoided.
I think the trick to this relationship thing is accepting the fact that change will happen. Once we’ve admitted this as a reality we can begin to do the work of what it means to be in a healthy relationship: we can learn about one another.
I wonder how the world would be different if we put away what we thought we knew and spent some time actually getting to know the person. While I’ll admit that it is a little scary to think that my family has grown up, I’m becoming bubbling with anticipation about what our new relationship is going to be like.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.