He just sat there at bible study.
He was that quiet guy in the back, you know the one? Yeah, never offered any input in discussion, I swear he only came because his friends dragged him to our Wednesday night group...
These were my first thoughts about my friend Bryan.
Flattering? Perhaps not...
Of course, I was anxiously anticipating the day where our study leader Dave said the wrong thing and he snapped and pulled out an AK and went all crazy on us. But you know...
I never really got to know Bryan during high school. I was very involved in the band thing and he went to a different high school. He actually went to the north side school, and it was pretty shady business over on that side of town. ;)
After my first year of college, I went on a project with a campus ministry to South Carolina. After that I returned back home to figure out the next move in my life. I decided to help the study leader co-lead some studies. Bryan was still in the area, and still coming to bible study.
Since we really weren't in the high school crowd any more, we decided to join forces (I think it was his invitation originally, but I'm not sure), and combat the boredom of being high school grads who were trapped in their hometown.
It went down something like this I think....
Bryan: (after a Wednesday night study): "Soooo......we should maybe hang out sometime. Play some video games or something....I don't care, whatever you want to do."
Me: "Uh, sure, yeah I 'spose we could do something like that."
Bryan: "Ok cool, yeah just let me know, or whatever."
Me: "Yeah sounds good man."
And just like that... an alliance was born!
One of the first cool things I learned about this guy, was that he is a movie connoisseur.
Walked into his place the first time we hung out, and we started the process of deciding the movie we were going to watch. My mind was blown at the sheer amount of DVD's were present. It was like...Best Buy or something. I thought to myself, my god this guy has to get a life!
But sure enough, I began stopping over most every night after and we would watch movies, play awesome video games and have whiskey and cokes (Bryan's weakness is Jameson, yeah...the good stuff). He's a top shelf sort of guy.
I thought I'd seen plenty of movies in my time. Hell no.
I felt like an apprentice Jedi learning the ways of one much wiser than myself. Bryan has a fantastic grasp on movies (and while we differ at times, I'll take a movie recommendation from him any day!). We share a love of horror movies, though he tends to prefer the classics, while I gravitate toward modern slasher films.
You ask Bryan about a movie, odds are he's seen it.
Ask him his opinion on said movie, odds are he has one.
It's kinda awesome really.
I'm friends with a movie critic, but not just any movie critic....one who actually knows what he's talking about!
We would also embark on two player shooter game projects, which lead to many hours of swearing, heads being blown off, and strategy sessions (strategy was always needed, because my typical tactical maneuver in these games is to run in shooting, and get killed right away).
It was in this season of life that I began to re-realize the need for good guy relationships in my life. Somehow, doing stuff as basic as movies, junk food and video games was a very healthy thing for me. Guys need to bond with guys.
Guys need brothers.
I find it much easier to relate to women, but what I was missing out on by not having a brother to do "guy stuff" with was actually a huge need that I didn't know I had.
Bryan is one of the most genuine, and generous guys that I know. It was a friendship that just stuck. He's always right there when I'm having a rough time, and looking for practical tangible ways to help me feel better, rather than handing me cliches', which I actually despise.
He's always giving. Whether it's taking a friend out to dinner, or giving his time to help me change a tire, or donating to great causes. He has a heart for people, and when he heard about the organization Compassion International and the work they do, he was so moved that he sponsored a child himself.
The reason he never talked all that much at bible study back in the day is because Bryan actually takes time and thinks about things. He is a rare commodity in a world where everyone thinks their opinion is the shit. Everyone wants to be listened to, but Bryan listens. He thinks before he talks, which is why a lot of the things he says when he does share, are quite profound.
I don't think he really realizes how much of an impact he has on the people around him. I hope he does, but I'm not sure if he does. He's someone I can go to and bitch about life, and I won't feel judged. I've never felt that he tries to put any sort of pressure on me to "act" a certain way.
A lot of Christian guys, when they hang out, they always have some sort of an "end." Do you know what I mean?
It's like their goal when hanging out is to have friendship to avoid doing certain things. Accountability buddies, if you will. And while accountability is great, I needed something more with my guy friendships. I didn't need a guy friend who just acts like I'm a project. I didn't need for someone to act like the only thing we do when we hang out is talk about our failures, and shortcomings and beat ourselves up because we're sinners.
I needed a guy who was just a straight-up friend to me. Someone who'd accept me, flaws and all.
He's definitely been one of the few guys friends I have had, who actually does that. That fact alone is an unmistakable blessing to me.
He recently got engaged to Natalie (another friend that I'm sure will have an entry in here, as they have both been huge blessings to me in the last two years!), and I couldn't be happier. They're both just fantastic!
I can't begin to do this guy justice in a blog post (or any of my friends for that matter), but it just so happens that My Friend the Movie Critic, was the friend I didn't know I needed, but the friend that I'm so glad I've found. :)
Even if he does have a mancrush on Tim Tebow....