Two days, two weddings.
Friday, we settled ourselves in long, aisle-facing pews in Bastyr University's austere chapel (think Westminster Chapel-grand) and watched as our beloved Gina walked the rose petal-covered path on the arm of her father. The moment had been prayed for and anticipated for several years. Gina waited. She didn't rush into the first relationship that came along. She knew Bill was out there somewhere, and she waited for him to make his appearance. When he did--when we, her church family, caught our first glimpse of him and recognized God's imprint--we smiled. Her wait had been worth it.
I'm not sure I've ever been to a wedding that magnificent. It wasn't just the place, although you could sit in that chapel for a month of Sundays and still not see every detail in the frescoes, the cutwork, or the stained glass. It was an atmosphere of elegance that enveloped the large bridal party and every guest in attendance. It was the glow of rose petal-encircled candles lining the long aisle. It was the lighting of overhead chandeliers. It was knowing that the waning light from outside met us through windows embellished with the Word of God.
I loved hearing Dave's voice ringing in that chapel. And I loved the message he gave Bill and Gina--the reminder that God had created them differently to bless one another. He told Gina that God had placed a great need for admiration in the heart of Bill, and that her calling was to spend her life giving him that respect and admiration. He told Bill that God had placed a great need for security in the heart of Gina, and that his role in this marriage was to bathe her in love--to lay his life down as our Savior did for His Bride.
They left in an old Model-T type car driven by an elderly man in a rounded top hat. His wife sat beside him, sporting her own fancy, tulle-wrapped hat. In the box seat behind them, Bill and Gina donned similar hats and waved to the rest of us, who stood laughing and watching. The whole thing delighted me. There was brand new love, sitting expectantly in the back seat, while love that had stood the test of time guided it on to the next step.
The next step, in this case, was the reception--held at the Christian school where Bill is a wrestling coach. We lined up for water and punch and then lined up for an array of food that you don't have often--or ever. Shrimp cups and curried chicken. Brie and sourdough. Chicken salad tartlets. Rice Krispie treats dipped in your choice of milk or dark chocolate, which dribbled invitingly from separate fountains.
We ate, and laughed, and visited with old friends, and watched the wedding party arranged on stage a la Da Vinci's "Last Supper." We listened to a short list of toasts and raised our glasses in agreement with each heartfelt expression, and I cried when Gina's father told her how much he loved her.
Shortly after, when Dave reminded us both that he had another wedding the following day, we said our good byes and started for home. If I'd known that the dancing was about to break out, I would have begged for another half an hour. From what I hear, fifty-some women and three lone men tore up the floor. It would have been fifty-some plus one.
I love weddings. I love watching as two become one, and knowing that amid all the hard times that are sure to come, sweet moments will be interspersed--moments when one pair of eyes will look in astonishment at another and be startled anew to discover that in this big, cold world, someone has promised to love you.
There's still another wedding to share ...