I've had a couple of my college friends (namely two) have specifically answered that "yes" they want to be at my wedding and have provided address. My friend Dan has agreed to marry myself and Shannon (*gasp* "polygamous fiends!!!" But seriously, he's a mutual friend of ours and has agreed to officiate the ceremony for us.) and we just had our engagement photos done today. Also, I seem to have slimmed down a lot since I started my job at LC. Shannon kept telling me I had, but I didn't believe her until I saw an old picture of myself from when we went to Chicago a few years ago and noticed how big my stomach looked in the picture compared to the way it looks in a mirror now. I also recently got a raise at that same job, so my time is now worth $9.33 an hour (still only 24 hours a week, though) and my last paycheck was a big one because they decided to pay me the difference of what they hadn't paid me (assuming 9.33/h instead of 8.25/h) from July to the present.
Made some new friends to play D&D with, most of them pagans: on Wiccan, one Wiccan leaning toward Voodoo, and a couple that worship the old Germanic gods. My friends got a chance to learn directly how I felt about them on a personal and spiritual level because one of them asked me if his religion made me uncomfortable. After thinking about it long and hard, and several assurances from him that he wouldn't be offended, I was completely honest. I told him that as a Christian I thought there was only one way to Truth, but that that way should not be imposed by force. I loved him for who he was, regardless of his religion, and, as Jesus never forced himself on others, I should follow his example. The Wiccan girl hugged me and thanked me for not being one of those Christians who believed in forcing my stuff on her. To be honest, the guy leaning toward Voodoo continued to treat me with the same level of affection and friendliness even after I answered his question, so I know we were still cool.
He didn't know this, but I prayed for my Wiccan/Voodoo friend every night, had been since I first met him. In fact, I prayed for everyone in the group, because that's just who I am. Even if you are not receptive to the Message, I still care about you and hope to see you in heaven when I get there, so I pray for you. While I'm with you I simply enjoy your company and treat you with the same level of affection and respect that I treat all of my friends with. If you ask me about my beliefs or why I hold them or how I can possibly justify having them, I am more than happy to tell you. But I'm not going to treat every interaction we have like a debate session and I will never treat you like my pet project. Okay, I'm kind of babbling now. Mostly because this next part is still hard for me to talk about.
My Wiccan/Voodoo friend (I omit his name in the interests of privacy, I certainly never called him my Wiccan/Voodoo friend. He certainly had a name and I used it, I just don't feel it should be blasted on the airwaves without express permission) died the Tuesday before last. He had a heart attack and simply did not recover. He was only thirty nine. As far as I know, he died without saying yes to Jesus or to God the Father. I don't know where he is right now; as a Christian I absolutely believe in both Heaven and Hell. I'm not a simplified Christian who believes in a cut and dried "this kind of person goes to heaven, this kind to hell. Period." I must confess I don't know how such things are decided and won't pretend to. All I know for sure is that God is good, his goodness is simple, and those who go to Hell are those who choose it. I could quote scripture, philosophy, and doctrine to back this up, but I really don't care to go there. You can share/sympathize with these beliefs of mine or not, I leave that to you. I really only need you to understand WHY my friend's death hits me so hard. I loved him (as a friend and a brother) and I knew that my God loved him, because I felt the strength of the Father's heart for this man, my God thought this man was awesome, even though he chose to serve other gods. I was excited to see this man every week because I would not only enjoy our interactions, I would also be privy to God's thoughts about this man.
I wasn't with my friend in his final moments, so I just don't know anything about the circumstances of his death or even his state of mind when he died. One day I will know, but only after my own spirit has passed into the great beyond. I've more or less managed to move on, but my uncertainty regarding his final destination still troubles me. I'm plagued by "what ifs" and "should I haves," but in the end there was really nothing I could have or should have done that I wasn't already doing. He knew my beliefs, I knew his, and I treated him like an equal human being worthy of my friendship and respect. I didn't sermonize or berate him for his "sins", didn't try to "turn or burn" him. I mainly just wish I could have had more time with him as a friend.
Shit, it's really late, I've talked way too long. I'll be going now.
Listening to: Twisted Sister
Reading: Snow Crash and Tono-Bungay (2 different books)
Watching: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (Stephen King)