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This must be the place: Get me to the church on time

This must be the place: Get me to the church on time

Editor’s Note: After heading to his native Upstate New York last week to give the eulogy at his aunt’s funeral, Garret was also asked to marry off his best friend, Andy, this past weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee. Andy and Garret crossed paths almost five years ago when both relocated to Waynesville for work at the same time. Being strangers in a new town (Andy moved from Knoxville), with no familiarity nearby, they became fast friends, ultimately best friends. About a year later, Andy met and began dating Ashley, the love of his life. He then relocated to Knoxville, with Garret visiting the couple often. When Andy proposed to Ashley, he decided, being an only child, to ask his father to be his best man. With that, Andy and Ashley then asked Garret to be the officiant, who would bring them together in holy matrimony in front of their closest friends and family members. Below is the speech Garret wrote and gave in front of the congregation before the rings were exchanged ...

Love — true love — does exist.

But, in a modern world, one filled with endless distraction, selfish priorities and instant gratification, love can seem like something distant, perhaps something unattainable, and, maybe even some dream you keep waking up from when all you wanted to do was fall back asleep and keep chasing it, wherever it would take you until you held it within your fingertips.

Love is a scary thing, especially when both sides of a relationship ante up the most valuable thing they possess — their hearts. And yet, the only way to win at the game of love is to go “all in,” to cast aside any doubt or foolish pride, in exchange for a lifetime of an elusive emotion that has the power to raise the sun, to move mountains and overcome even the roughest of seas. 

I, myself, was even skeptical of what “love” is, and how can it exist in such a time and place where everything seems to be chaos and confusion, in seemingly every direction. It’s almost enough noise and exhaustion to keep you from ever getting out of bed in the morning. But, when you see love in its physical form, and hopefully are lucky enough to feel its emotional power, then you realize just how real and attainable it actually is, especially to those who keep the flame alive, just bright enough to catch the attention of your lover in the darkest of times. 

I remember the first time Andy ever mentioned Ashley. I remember it vividly. I remember it because they met at a time when Andy was at a crossroads in his life. He would give anything to help his friends and family, to show them the love and support they deserved. But, was he also deserving of that same love and support in return? He was, and he is, even if at that time he felt love was something so far off, was it even in the cards to get up and try again?

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He met Ashley at a Halloween party in this same city four years ago. And when he returned back to Waynesville, North Carolina, he immediately told me about “this girl” and how “there is just something about her,” something he couldn’t shake. He had to see her again, and he did, almost every single weekend until he relocated back to Knoxville not long into their relationship.

During these past four years, it’s been of one the great joys of my life seeing my best friend find love. And with that, I’ve also found in Ashley the support and encouragement that resides in the foundation of the greatest of friendships. They are soulmates, in the truest sense of the word. I, and all of you here today, can attest to that notion as fact. 

Watching the two of them together is seeing true love in action. This isn’t some cheesy made-for-TV movie or sappy pop song aimed to hold true love over your head like some carrot you can’t seem to reach. With Andy and Ashley, you knew you weren’t just in the presence of some cookie cutter pairing, you were witnessing the blossoming love, support and passion between two like-minded souls, both as giddy and excited to see what each new day would bring to their world, which was once two circles, now joined into one that will be remain unbroken for all eternity. 

You both are here today, standing in a room, surrounded by those who you know the best and love you the most. We celebrate your love, now and every day thereafter, and thank you for showing us that true love is alive and real, so long as we look to you as inspiration in our own lives.

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