When I was about ten years old I told my best friend that I wanted him to be my best man at my wedding. I have no idea what exactly precipitated the conversation. However, I am clear what my motivations were.
Zeb was my best friend, but he was also so much more. He was my constant companion, my confidant, and my collaborator. We were very young when we met, and inseparable afterwards. Even after I left for college and he went to work, we stayed connected through phone calls, visits home for the holidays. and other occasions.
Well, then this happens . . .
My “camp companion” and I fell head over heels in love and felt called to be married. All great news, except months had passed since Zeb and I had connected and nobody seemed to know where he was.
As Staci and I planned our wedding, I reached out to Zeb’s parents, his siblings, our mutual friends, and nobody could tell me how to reach him. Finally, out of the blue, Zeb called his brother, whom I had told that I was looking for Zeb. His message to his brother went along these lines: “Hey there—heard you’re looking for me . . . I’m hiding out in the woods,” followed by a big belly laugh.
I came to find out that Zeb was working in a logging camp seven miles up a steep road.
When I finally got ahold of him with the message, “Zeb! I’m getting married and I want you to be my best man!” silence was all I heard on the other end of the phone.
“Wow . . . you remembered . . . I would be honored,” he responded. “But you’ll have to come and get me.”
Three days later, after another good friend made the long and treacherous trip to fetch Zeb, he was freshly shaved and showered, standing next to me at the altar.
An acquaintance is good, friendship is great, but true companionship—that is life-changing.
“We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know him in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone any more. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship.”
Dorothy Day’s words capture for me much of my experience about those who have been real companions on the journey. There is a connectedness that is heaven-sent.
At its core, the Holy Week journey for me is about companionship. The holy invitation to be a companion with Jesus through the “Hosannas” to the “Crucify him!”, from Palm Sunday to Easter, from darkness to light, is nothing short of transformational. I am truly grateful to those who have been and are companions with me on the journey . . . especially Jesus.