I was 17 years old and on the search for a college. My first official visit – Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Both of my sisters went or were attending there so I decided to visit as well. There was a talent show that night at the school and I heard that a really cool band was playing. Turns out they were more than cool, they were the most amazing crew I had ever heard and instantly were my favorite band. One of the guys was tall, played basketball, was the epitome of cool and could beatbox and rap like none other – I told my sister Angie I wanted to meet him so we could be friends. She said she couldn’t introduce me because she didn’t know him. I told her to do so anyways. She refused.
12 years later, that guy is one of my best friends. And not only that, he’s my brother-in-law. Will and Angie started dating a year after my failed attempt at being his friend. I looked up to Will. He was a role model, a best friend, and a mentor, wrapped up into one person.
Me and my other sister Kelli would get together and figure out how we were going to secure Will as part of our family. Obviously, we wanted him to marry our sister but we said regardless, we are finding a way for him to be our brother.
A couple of years later, he was our brother. And the 3 of us siblings became 4. We live in 3 corners of the states (Oregon, LA, and DC) but we see each other as much as we can. We aren’t only family. We are best friends.
Angie and Will’s 8th anniversary is next week on November 27th. Their marriage is one to admire. One of extreme faithfulness, commitment, support, and encouragement through incredible highs and lows. Not only do I love being around them, I learn what a marriage should look like. I ask Will questions and he answers with wisdom, grace, openness, and experience.
Sometimes, after getting to know someone, the admiration can wear off, the holding someone in high esteem can fade. But to me, Will hasn’t become less of a role model, he’s become a superhero. He has his flaws, sure, but if you knew him, I think you’d agree.
Last year at this time, I was in LA to celebrate Thanksgiving with Will and Angie. Today, I am in LA to see Will and Angie as well. Unfortunately it’s not under the circumstances I would want. Will is fighting an aggressive cancer and next week on November 27th, he will be having surgery to remove a rapidly growing tumor. I thought I would be visiting to spend time with, encourage, talk, and play games with Will and Angie but instead I have come to watch Will live in excruciating pain, observe him as he sits and sleeps in the same chair for 24 hours, and watch my sister cry unanswered prayers as we wonder what the purpose of this is and what the outcome will be.
It’s not a beautiful thing to witness. But sometimes true beauty can only be seen through the lens of pain. And the faithfulness, support, encouragement, and undying, self-sacrificing love given by spouse to spouse is something so very painfully beautiful.
We search for a lot of things in a spouse. A lot of things that come and go. But in the end, in the times things are difficult, the thing each of us will want most is someone who is still next to them.
Go Team Gray! I love you. www.goteamgray.com/about-the-story/