Saturday, September 04, 2004

An impossible...and beautiful...day

It was an impossible wedding.

There were a lot of reasons for it not to happen. After all, they had been living together for a while. They already had two children. There had been brokenness - his addictions to alcohol and drugs nearly destroyed his life, and their life together as well. There had been trust betrayed - and forgiveness withheld. There had been recovery - and doubt - and resentment - and fear. Anyone who knew the two of them could have come up with 30 reasons for them not to get married.

So - you might well ask - why were we gathered in the back-yard of a bed-n-breakfast in a small town in rural Kansas on Labor Day Saturday?

My own answer would be that God (as I misunderstand God) finds impossible circumstances just an amazing workshop for holy moments and miracles.

It was not, as ceremonies and venues go, a "big deal." No tuxedos, no 20-foot train on the bride's dress, no cathedral setting, no prime-rib dinner. The bride was absolutely gorgeous, though her dress was elegant but simple, and the groom was handsome, though he and his groomsmen wore simple white dress shirts, slacks and ties. The guests were told "casual dress" on the invitations, and "casual" went from shirts and ties to polo shirts to motorcycle leathers.

But it didn't matter what was worn, or what was served...because the purpose of the celebration was to bless the union of two hearts and two lives - not to make a fashion statement. And their marriage was well and truly blessed...by God, and by the friends and family who loved them, and gathered to share in the joy.

Her ring was her grandmother's - a plethora of small but elegant stones. His was a simple machined band of tungsten-carbide - a symbol, perhaps, of the hard times they had gone through and the durability of the bond between him and the mother of his children. Something old and something new in this new beginning to an eleven-year-old-relationship.

When it came time to read the classic passage from 1st Corinthians 13, the groom's stepdad choked up a time or two - I'm pretty sure he doubted, for a long time, if this day would ever be possible. As they spoke their vows, and exchanged their rings, the groom's normally controlled exterior cracked, and he cried - tears of joy, I expect. That's what I was crying, anyway... thanking and praising God for the miracle of healing and transformation in this couple's life, that brought them from brokenness to unity. It was at least partly my blurry vision that made me miss the photo of their first married kiss, and a couple others...I was too much "in the moment" to be anything but a casual photographer. If there had been a good photographer there, I would have given him or her my camera - but as it was, the newlyweds were stuck with me, and a host of well-meaning relatives who kept Kodak and Fuji in business for the day.

I thought back to my own wedding, just over 20 years ago...in our case, all the "traditional" trappings had been there. The Lladro porcelain bride-and-groom figure topped the cake. Her gown and veil were masterpieces, our tuxes were first-rate, and the meal at the country-club was a wonder. But I would have swapped it all for the love and the joy in the eyes of the bride and groom - and the hopes and prayers of the family and friends assembled around them. A God of wonder and of power transformed the back-yard of a bed-n-breakfast in Baldwin City, KS into a slice of Eden for a while today, and ensured that impossible things really can and do happen.

Congratulations, Summer and Mike. All my hopes and dreams and prayers go with you this night, as you begin your lives again.

3 comments:

ikerus said...
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Dave said...

Wow, It sounds so beautiful. Thanks for describing it for me. This is three now that I've had to miss in the past year and a half and it's hurt a bunch each time.

It's kind of nice to be able to picture it though. I'm glad you have such a way with words. I'm sorry I didn't get to see you this time home.

Blessed Be.

Steve F. said...
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