*Click on underlined slangs for translations*
I am fortunate to not have any friends that have demanded that I empty my pockets and lay down my life just because they are getting married.
You know, the kind of people that will have you fly to Vegas for their bachelorette party and to Dubai for their wedding, contribute $5,000 towards their bridal shower, another $10,000 for being a bridesmaid, and then of course you already know you gotta buy the aso-ebiA uniform fabric worn for weddings or other special occasions for a thousand times the actual cost of the fabric. Oh and don’t forget to buy the most expensive gift off the wedding registry because you know, she’s your girl and it’s the wedding she’s dreamed of all her life 🙄 🙄 🙄 . Like I said, my friend lay down your life already, and if you’re not willing to do so then just at least put your life on total pause because what else is more important than this said wedding?
Here’s what we don’t realize – while we think the world revolves around us because we are getting married, or having a baby, life continues for others. People are busy dealing with real issues – the loss of a job, unexpected medical bills, a chronic disease, or whatever else that life is throwing at them. A grateful person will realize that in a hall full of people at their wedding, these individuals have temporarily left their on-goings to rejoice with them. They don’t have to, they don’t owe you their presence, and you can’t demand anything of them. Why? Because the world does not revolve around you.
Many years ago when I was in college, a friend who had recently graduated was getting married and asked me to be her bridesmaid. We weren’t super close, but we were close enough for her to know that I was more broke than a church rat. I expressed how honored I was, and then politely declined. “I can help with whatever you need on that day,” I said. “Clean up, set up, pack money, serve food…just let me know.” I was expecting a nice “aaaw thank you” said in a surprised and grateful tone, but I instead got the “I thought we were friends” speech from her. Unless I was going to use my rent money, I simply couldn’t afford to be her bridesmaid. Here’s where she failed – she only looked at the situation through her lens. Her side of the story would probably go something like this – “what is a friend if they can’t be there for you when you are getting married?” But there was more context to the story – my “broke-ness” – and it mattered too, because the world did not revolve around her.
Last year, my mentor, Ms. D, lost her brother suddenly. One Friday, he was fine, went to work, picked up his kids from daycare, and lived life as usual. The next day, Ms. D got the call everyone dreads – a teenage driver crashed into her brother and he was no more. The following weekend, Ms. D was supposed to attend her friend’s wedding. She’d been eagerly looking forward to it, and had sewn the latest aso-ebiA uniform fabric worn for weddings or other special occasions style with fringes dangling all over and a thigh high slit. She had even booked her makeup and aso-ebiA uniform fabric worn for weddings or other special occasions with the famous Ophir Beauty. As you’d imagine, the wedding was the last thing on Ms. D’s mind after getting the news of her brother. A couple weeks later, after the funeral, Ms. D called her friend whose wedding she’d missed for obvious reasons.
“Nkechi! The latest Mrs. in town! Congratulations dear. It’s chookingI’m pained me that I missed your wedding oh. I’m sure you saw on Facebook that my brother passed away.”
“Sorry my dear. But you could have at least let me know you wouldn’t make it anymore so I give your spot to someone else. You sha know how tight my guest list was, abi?Right?
“My brother died.” Ms. D managed to repeat, as tears rolled down her face. She was still sore, her wounds were still so raw, and lately, almost anything was a trigger for more tears.
“I know. SebiDidn’t I I texted you my condolences? Ndo.Sorry God will comfort you, eh?Okay? All I was saying was that it would have been nice of you to let me know you couldn’t make it anymore.”
There was no point in Ms. D continuing this conversation. The more she listened, the more she cried as silently as she could. Nkechi would never see this situation beyond herself to realize how ridiculous she sounded. Her side of the story would probably go something like this – “people are so disrespectful, they don’t have the decency to cancel their RSVP”. But there was more context to the story – Ms. D’s grief – and it mattered too, because the world did not revolve around Nkechi and her wedding.
The quality of being able to look beyond one’s self is an admirable one. That ability to pause and put one’s self in others’ shoes and ask – what is going on with Mr. X that makes him act in this way? Am I taking Mr. X into consideration with my request or decision? It is selfish and unattractive to live such that it’s always about me, me, me, and me. Other people matter. There is joy derived in caring for others, sharing your time and resources with them, sacrificing for them, understanding and acknowledging their struggles, and putting a smile on their faces. Why? Because the world does not revolve around you.
There is one word that summarizes this. It is called LOVE. Love is not self-seeking. 1 Corinthians 13:5.
I’d like to know your thoughts on this, and any stories you have. Weddings are a big deal; do you expect that people should go all out for you, irrespective of what’s going on with them?