"Thy will, not mine, be done" is not only the hardest thing we can do (that is what sin has done to us), but it is also the most joyful and liberating thing we can do (that is what grace has offered us). A trillion experiments have proved one point over and over past all doubt: that whenever we aim at happiness as if we were God, by exerting our power and control, we end up in unhappiness, whether we get the thing we wanted or not. For if we get it, we are bored; and if we do not, we are frustrated. But whenever we become nothing, become utterly weak, whenever we say and mean with our whole heart, "Not my will but thine be done," we find the greatest happiness, joy, and peace that is ever possible in this world. Yet despite the trillions of experimental confirmations of this truth, we keep trying other experiments with happiness outside of God and outside of submission to God, thereby repeatedly selling our birthright of joy. In other words, we are insane. Sin is insanity.
"The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.He must become greater; I must become less." - John 3:29
I have come to the age when my friends are beginning to get married. Last Friday I got the amazing chance to see my undergrad friends at a wedding, and I loved every minute of it. At some points I would mentally step back to take in the scene. My old friends I haven't seen for years are merry and toasting champagne and laughing. It dawns on me: we are not teens anymore. We used to wear formal clothes to job interviews because we had to. But now we've become formal, dignified, adults. Yes, we're still goofs, but we're older and wiser versions of the people we were before. Our suits fit us better now. We are becoming ourselves.
And we're finding our mates, too. This reminds me that I have not yet found myself, that there's so much I want to learn and do before I've settled into my own comfortable skin. But my character of habits, angers and humors more tightly constrains me than it did before. The noose of my identity is closing in. It seems that through each day there's less and less left of me that I can change. The formative years of childhood are gone. I am not a flexible soul. I can still act, but only by reacting to the self that I've become over the years. I've jumped, and here I come hurtling to the earth. Much of where I shall fall was already determined when I jumped off the ledge. All I can do now is to try to remember everything I've learned about opening parachutes. This fills me with a profound loneliness.
My friends are finding their way through relationships. I am happy for them. I am neither bride nor groom. I am the groomsman. The groomsman celebrates the happiness of others. To partake in their happiness makes him happy. But it is a bittersweet happiness, as it makes painfully obvious the fact that they are two, and I am one.