How Nervous Farts Showed Me I Need a Guide

This is embarrassing, but I’ve wanted to tell this story for months now.

I was a nervous wreck.

There’s not an easy way to describe this other than I was such a nervous wreck that I kept farting.

Passing gas. Tooting. Whatever you want to call it. I was doing lots of it.

It didn’t help that I was trapped in a tight hallway with one other man. Poor guy. I was killing him.

He was the guy that married us a few minutes after he suffered through my flatulence. He and I were moments away from making our appearance in front of the little chapel full of wedding guests.

wedding

My wedding day. Girl of my dreams. Packed house. Brother and best friends standing behind me, sister to my side.

Nervous wreck.

The final song before our entrance was wrapping up, and I remember saying something like, “Man, I’m sorry Brett, I’m killing you back here. But it’s about go time, let’s do this.”

Nervous farts.

Thankfully, they all escaped in that little hallway. And for the next 40 minutes or so, this man guided our wedding ceremony.

When you’re 22 and getting married, it’s impossible to have the perspective of a 35 year old. But I was aware enough to know that this man was special.

For years in high school and college, he had guided me through some difficult times, tough conversations and uncertain decisions.

Guide.

path

This word popped up in a podcast I’ve been listening to lately. Donald Miller of StoryBrand has been using the word in a super helpful way from a business perspective.

He’s dead on in how he has unpacked its impact in business and marketing, but it also made me think of this guide of mine from 13 years ago on our wedding day.

It wasn’t formal or prescriptive, but he served as a guide for me. Someone that was further down the path that could look back and point out the danger, the red flags, the areas of opportunity.

Guiding me.

In our self-centered, me-first culture, admitting we need a guide isn’t common. Raising our hand and saying we need help is perceived as weakness.

But it’s the exact opposite. It’s a signal of maturity and strength.

And, whether we like it or not, realize it or not, accept it or not, we are all guiding somebody. Likely lots of people. More people than we know.

Our colleagues, children, neighbors, family, Facebook friends.

For better or worse, we’re guiding them. Leading them along the path.

So the questions become:


– Why are we avoiding those that are willing to guide us?
– What kind of a guide are you following?
– What are we afraid they may point out in us?
– Who is following you?
– Where are you guiding them?
– What kind of a guide are you?

It’s not a surprise that the poor fella that was subjected to the filth of my anxiety all those years ago is still a quiet, gentle presence in my life.

Not every day or even every month. Sometimes only once or twice a year.

But like a good guide does, he’s there when I most need him. Or maybe better said, when he knows I need it most.

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