Thursday, August 6, 2015

Above and Beyond

Someday I might get married. If and when that day comes, I am going to invite all my closest friends to the wedding, and it will mean a lot to me that all of them are there.

I have a very close friend who would not enjoy going to a wedding. They will dislike it in a way that most of my friends wouldn't, and it is going to come with a lot of extra stresses that won't stress most of my other friends out. For the first few years of our friendship, I had just assumed that they would never go to a wedding. But in recent years, I asked them if they would come to my wedding, and they said yes. They said they would go because it was important to me. That meant the world to me. To know that a friend is doing something that is extra stressful for them, that is not something they really want to do, just to make me happy is very, very special. I acknowledge that it is a very big deal for this friend to come to my wedding, and I appreciate it on a different level. I appreciate it the same way I'd appreciate it if a friend traveled from very far away just to be at my wedding. Sometimes the extra effort someone makes is obvious to everyone, like if you traveled far, and sometimes that effort is less obvious. Sometimes the extra effort it takes is completely internal, where no one else can see it. No outside observer would think anything extra special of the fact that this friend came to my wedding, but I would see it as my friend going really above and beyond for me.

That's all I'm asking for when I do things that are very, very stressful in order to see my friends or to do something that is important to them. I'm not asking for anything in exchange. I don't need a parade or anything. I'd just like it to be understood, acknowledged, and appreciated when I go through a lot of extra stress for something, and not have it be treated like it's no big deal and that I should have done more.

Someday when I get married, I know that some people are going to judge my friend harshly for not dressing "properly" and not eating whatever food we serve and not participating in various parts of the party the way that other people are. They're going to think that my friend isn't making any effort. But none of those details matter to me because I know that a wedding is the last place my friend wants to be and it would just mean the world to me that they came, no matter what.

All I want is to get that same level of acceptance when I do something that's really stressful for me. I want to know that what I did will be accepted, appreciated, and that no one is going to expect more from me when I've already gone way above and beyond what I'm actually comfortable doing.

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