Which tier?

  We were young, in love, and broke. Excited to get married, but without much money to make it happen.


As my husband and I planned the wedding, we kept things simple and looked for ways to cut costs. We decided to skip the tradition of keeping a top tier of the wedding cake for our first anniversary. That seemed to be a waste of expensive dessert.


We opted for a three layer cake that would feed everyone at the reception.


Our wedding was on a beautiful, hot, and sunny August afternoon. After the ceremony, the bridal party went to a garden to take pictures. Considering we had a 4 pm wedding and were serving people dinner at the reception, this was a risky choice. Sure enough, the photos took longer than anticipated.


We arrived late to the reception. Our guests clapped upon our arrival, but I got the impression it was as much for the relief they would get to eat soon as it was for joy in our new union.


In the midst of this stress, someone on the wait staff asked where I wanted to put the top of the cake. I answered quickly to put it on a table off to the side. I forgot that we did not have a top tier to save.

A top layer, meant to feed 30 or more people, was not served.


I kind of wish I could have seen our guest’s faces when they received their tiny slivers of cake. Or maybe I don’t. The wait staff was kind enough to give me a normal size piece so I didn’t really realize what was going on. Oops.


The problem in this scenario wasn’t that the tiers existed. It wasn’t that we chose a cake with three tiers instead of four. The problem was a misunderstanding about which tiers we were talking about.


I think this is a lot like friendship. Like it or not, friendship has tiers.


Some friends are part of our biggest tier. The one shared with the majority. People who share in our life events, but not in our deepest secrets. Others are part of our smallest tier. The few people with whom we share our most intimate moments. Many are part of the tier in between.


Tiers in and of themselves are not bad. We are meant for community, but our capacity for relationships is not unlimited.


But, like my wedding day, problems can surface when we are not on the same page about our tiers.


I have a friendship I used to find frustrating. I considered this person part of my smallest tier. I loved getting together. I wanted to see her often and share the most intimate details of life. But I always had to be the one to call. And we never got together as much as I wanted. Slowly, I began to realize that I was part of her medium tier. We were not on the same page.


The temptation was to throw away that friendship. To hold a grudge against her for not calling me first. To assume she didn’t like me. To dwell on frustrations.


But throwing away friendship wastes beautiful cake. I just needed to adjust expectations.


At our reception, we didn’t notice the cake portion was small. We simply enjoyed it as part of the celebration. Then, when we realized what happened, we adjusted. We made more room in our freezer. And we made plans to share cake on our anniversary.


We are not in control of which tier our friends place us in. We are in control of how we respond.


Enjoy each friendship for what it is. Realize that just because you are on a different tier in someone else’s life than they are in yours does not mean they don’t like you. It just means their top tier is taken.


And remember that unlike cake, our tiers are not static. A person who is on the medium tier at one point in our lives may be on the small tier at another point. And vice versa. So let’s not throw out the cake. Let’s adjust our expectations and enjoy the sweetness friends bring to our lives.


Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:12-14