Two of the most common tips that I have read online in how to prepare a good best man speech are to be yourself, and keep it short. Those who know me well enough know that I can only fulfill one of these right now as I do have a tendency of being long-winded.
It’s probably a rare thing to find that the best man develops his friendship with both the groom as well as the bride. I first met Heather about 8 years ago at a youth retreat which I was speaking at. I was teaching how to explain the Catholic faith to others, and she so happened to be very interested in that topic. I was flagged down during lunch and we spoke about many topics. In fact, I am not sure she actually ate her food. She just wouldn’t stop talking… or slow down.
In the years to come I would see and hear them sing around the parish on occasion. Then I met Jo at one of my talks at his retreat. He had the audacity to correct one of my statements, to which I humbly explained away the objection. I approached them after to admit my mistake and that was the first time I knew them as a couple. Months later, I had seen Heather and asked how she and her boyfriend were doing. She told me he was discerning the priesthood. I too was discerning the priesthood at the time and so Jo and I had many conversations about that in the next few years. We even visited a seminary together for about a week. I recall that day we were supposed to leave the seminary. We had been taking pictures of the exterior of the seminary and the church. He walked up to me, and said, “I don’t think I am called to the priesthood”. After that the conversations began to revolve around relationships and family life.
I recall one night where all our friends were finishing up dinner and I was talking about my communication with an old love interest of mine, and Heather for whatever reason started to challenge my decision. I wasn’t quite sure where it was coming from, but I only later determined there was some kind of projection going on there. When she left, Jo turned to us and told us of his intention to ask Heather to re-kindle their relationship and be his girlfriend once more. About a year later, I had more conversations with him encouraging him to be confident, make a decision about Heather and run with it.
For the guys, most of all our memories with Jo, inevitably included times with Heather. They were and are inseparable. Jo’s go with the flow sort of attitude is balanced by Heather’s tendency to meticulously plan and itemize her daily schedule. Both are willing to strive to show the other how much love they have for the other, in the way they want to be loved. They share everything. They share their lives and their stuff. They seriously study their faith and put into practice ways to have kept their chastity strong all these years in preparation for marriage. They love God, they know their faith and love it.
Finally, I would like to share a few quotes from the best source of modern philosophy, and that is, movies. In Rumor Has It, Jennifer Anniston says this to her love interest: “I didn't come here to tell you that I can't live without you. I can live without you. I just don't want to.” I think love is a choice, and I think Jo and Heather couldn’t agree with this more. The second comes from the lips of Matt Damon in The Adjustment Bureau, where he says about the woman he loves, “All I have are the choices I make, and I choose her.” Often times, insecurity can get the best of us and we feel like we are not good enough for the other. I know this was true for Jo and Heather as it has been for many of us here, but I think they each realized how much they really loved each other and no one else can fulfill that role for them and so they were faced with a choice. Every day is an opportunity to choose, and it is inspiring to have observed this first hand, that in spite of their occasional rough patches, they still choose each other. Lastly, in the recent film, The Way, we hear from the lips of Emilio Estevez the powerful statement, “We don’t choose a life, we live one.” And so, the lives we live, go beyond the choices we make in life, it is animated with an excitement and passion for truth, striving to make each day more meaningful and fruitful than the day before, and serving God and each other.
And so, Josef and Heather, may your love for God and each other continue to grow, all the days of your life! I love you guys! To Josef and Heather! *toast*