One of my best friends just got hitched this past weekend. Mike Hasegawa, a brother whom I’ve come to know for the past 10 years, was one of the first in our group to tie the knot. (Who woulda thought?)
The ceremony was beautiful, and I think I appreciate weddings even more so now because I finally know how much work goes into one. (We stayed up until 3 AM the previous night folding origami for the centerpieces. Imagine grown men cutting and folding little pieces of paper into star-shaped spheres…oh yes). But everything paid off and memorable times were made.
I was given the special privilege of being his Best Man, and as such, had the best seat in the house and was an official witness up front to see it all. To be honest, it was pretty emotional seeing Mike. Knowing all that he’s been through made this all the sweeter. He started crying when he was exchanging his vows. And the tears continued when he exchanged flowers with his mom. I’m not gonna lie, I got a little choked up, too.
As the Best Man, I also had to give a toast. I had initially worked on a toast the days prior, but it felt too hammy and insincere. So, just one day before the wedding, I decided to scrap it and write another one. I put it down on scrap paper while riding the train on the way to the wedding rehearsal. You can read it down below.
Congrats once again, you lovesick fools!
As I was driving down to San Diego for Mike’s bachelor party last week, I had a lot of time to think about things.
I thought about how nice it was to get away from my hectic life, and hear my own voice for once; I thought about how hungry I was getting and what Kyle and Ryan made for dinner. And as I drove down a little farther, I thought, who the heck designed those 2 big round domes and how did they get away with it?
I thought about our friendship–how it’s evolved over the years and how different we’ve become. You are about to begin a new, wonderful chapter in the story of your life, while I’m still searching desperately for my Table of Contents. I also thought about why you would pick such a questionable guy to be your Best Man, and what it would take to make a good speech.
After a week, I still have no reasons or answers to these things, except the last–what it takes to make a good speech.
I realized it doesn’t take fancy words or clever jokes or funny stories. It simply takes a good man. Speaking about a good man, from the heart, will make your speech good. Because you don’t have to convince anyone of anything, you just simply point to the evidence.
Now, a good man is not without his flaws. Over the years, Mike and I have seen both the best and the worst in each other–how selfish, stubborn, and prideful we can be. And a good man is not without his quirks. As many of you know, Mike has an obsession with break dancing, eating unhealthy portions, and taking off his shirts randomly and as frequently as possible. (My mom doesn’t miss seeing that.)
But a good man is someone who embraces this, knowing that it is God who has made him, and it is only God who can declare him good. The good man accepts this, and does his best to love God and His people with sincerity and humility.
Mike, when I first met you, I thought you were an oddball. You would come to my house, take off your shirt, and rummage through all the shelves of our refrigerator. I never had a Japanese friend before, so I thought maybe it was some sort of honorable tradition. I was wrong. I soon found out that no other Japanese person did this–only you. (You’re special, bro.)
But as I got to know you, I saw that you were a good man. You were the loyal friend who’d be down to play ball as well as talk and listen. You showed that you cared a lot about your friends and family, because you would tell us the hard things, not just the things we wanted to hear. Most importantly, you showed us your love for God by teaching us how to live for something bigger and greater than ourselves.
Unfortunately, over these last few years, we became a little more distant. Though we’d still keep in touch, we were both going in different directions; you were in SD, I was in LA. You left for UCSD, then once for Japan, and then once again for SD. Each time it was bittersweet, because I knew we wouldn’t be as close, though I was still happy for you.
But today, I can honestly say that I’m happy for you, because you met a great and lovely wife in Jen, and I know God will use her to make you, a good man, into a better one.
So, may God bless you two with lots of love, laughter, and little Mikey jrs. Here’s to a great couple and a beautiful journey.