There are times when words fail to express what two people mean to each other. And while those times are few and far between love stories, every once in a while, there comes a wedding that just makes you realize how much backstories matter.

I’ve always known Aoo as a gladiator. He’s the type of guy that gets knocked down with arms flailing and gets up faster than he hits the ground. He’s one of the people who inspires me to not give up, to give it your all, to keep on keeping on–even when you have your back against the wall.

And now, looking back at these photographs, I remember peering through the viewfinder not as a photographer but as a witness. When I look at his groomsmen, I see a battalion who has stood by his side through it all. When I see his friends attempting to stifle a tear, I see overwhelming joy. And when I look at his beautiful bride–one who, according to him, knows him through and through and still loves him…I cannot be happier for my friend for on this day, he has won one of his prizes in this lifetime.

Isn’t that the point of life? To never give up.

To never succumb to those things that bog us down.

To never say no to challenges.

To keep fighting against the flow of the mediocre.

To never be afraid of making a mistake.

And sometimes, to be courageous enough to admit to yourself and others when you have made one.

It is humbling to realize that we walk alongside some of the greatest heroes we can ever encounter in our lives.

We only need to look harder.

There will come a day that you will be face to face with a kindred spirit–the same way that Aoo and Anna met each other. And without words, they will remind you, one fateful day, how life was so unbearable without them.

Until then, fight for that next step.

Until then, keep moving forward.