I’ve thought about this day for a while. But not the way that most people do. Or the way she’s been thinking of it. Yes, it’s a memorable day, a once-in-a-lifetime event. It’ll be exciting and full of happiness. Some things will happen unexpectedly, but in the end, all will finish well. But all I can think of is standing in front of so many people. The public speaking class I took in college did little to calm my fear of being on stage, with other humans staring at me. That’s what concerns me most about this day. What if I trip? Am I sweating? Do I smell? Why is everyone staring at me? Is there something on my face?
Saved by the bridesmaids! Now the masses gathered in the bench church seats are looking at them and I can take a calm breath, providing some relief. I attempt to loosen my collar with no real success. Who tied this tie so tight? Can someone turn the air-conditioning down a few degrees, please? Do I have the right shoes on? Is my zipper down? And why is one my groomsmen wearing a navy blue Ann Klein dress suit?
These are all valid questions, and I hope to have answers at some point. Meanwhile, I acknowledge to myself that it is a nice dress suit, making note that the shoulder pads add a sense of definite power and authority. But why navy blue? Black would have complimented the shoulder pads better. The last of the bride’s friends takes her place.
Then I see her standing there.
As sudden as a lightning strike, all the counter-attacks I had planned for my nerves are unneccesary because it’s her. She that’s my best friend. She that calms my nerves. She that makes me smile. A rush of clean air fills my lungs, and I feel new. Didn’t expect that. A familiar feeling overtakes me, love. Gosh, I love that girl. I look down to adjust a cuff link which I know doesn’t need adjusting. I see my shoes. I can’t help but smile and wonder if this is really happening. The tuxedo I once feared would make me sweat is now the only hope I have for holding together. Can she see how excited I am that she’s about to be my wife? I wonder if she knows that I have no idea what I’m doing? I’m sure her father suspects this. I’m a bum. I’m sure her father suspects this. But there’s one thing I do know, I’m a bum in love. I’m so glad she isn’t a runaway bride. If I can just get her hand in mine, I’ll be able to keep her from running, but her dad is taking forever to get her down the aisle. I understand you’re emotional, sir, but let’s get a move on. Grandma in the front row is getting anxious about the early bird buffet special at Golden Corral.
The bagpipes conclude as this bride and her father reach the front of the aisle. Breaking the brief silence, we hear 3 bells ring. Once for the past: our lives before we knew each other, honoring how God was preparing us all along. The second bell for the present: the time we’ve spent with each other up to this point. Finding out that God indeed does have good things in store for us even right now. The third bell is for the future: the celebration of a new life together, one that we will now face as a team. The ups and downs, the twists and turns, all of it together.
The minister asks for a response from the bride’s father, who then lifts her veil, gives her a kiss on the cheek and puts her hand in mine. And here begins the ceremony of a marriage no power will ever separate. With a connection that I’ve never known before, we hold hands and I’m reminded of the first time I saw her, only a few years earlier…