Saturday, June 14, 2014

Honor and Blessing

My wedding was twenty years ago. 
My baby brother's was two weeks ago.
James' ceremony seemed to bridge old and new 
as we celebrated God's sustaining, redemptive love.

Though our weddings are decades apart, 
they share the same building, 
same pews, same aisles, and many of the same people ... even the same pianist. 

But, the old ring bearer the new groom.

The new groomsman ... is the old groom.

The old groomsman ...

... is the new pastor.

And the old pastor is ... missing ... and missed.

Dad died the year after he walked me down the aisle.
James was seven.
Life moved on from there ... 

... and then sort of returned again. 

Bits of dad's handsome character permeated the places of our togetherness:
All three of my brothers were in the same room with me 
several times over the course of the weekend. 

I could see traces of Dad.

Tim's individuality and passion for the Kingdom, 
and his ability to tell the perfect story - 
"enhanced" in just the right places to pique interest and produce laughter.

Josh's mannerisms - the way he looks through his glasses at you with kind sincerity; 
and his humility - 
he knows so much and is so very smart, 
but he is quick to listen and slow to speak, choosing to respond with more questions than answers.

James' confident smile that brightens rooms and lightens moods; 
and his love for people - 
he consistently chooses to put others first with generous grace and subtle style.

There were other reminders, too.
During the ceremony, my oldest son was an usher - and wore my dad's black Rockport dress shoes. 

The symbolism was sobering and sweet ... of filling shoes and walking paths ... legacy, heritage, and honor.

The day before the rehearsal, I looked in my closet and found my dad's black silk bow tie.
I rushed it through the dry cleaners, boxed it up, and sent it with the groomsmen on Saturday -
to offer James as he dressed for the big day.
James wore it so well! There were no big acknowledgements ... it was our quiet, happy secret. 
Dad's signature touch was sweetly in our midst.

As the service concluded, the minister blessed us with a wonderful gift. He said:

"James, twenty years ago I stood on this stage in your sister's wedding. 
In that ceremony your father shared some words that touched me so deeply. 
In fact, they had such an impact on my life,
 that I have shared his words in every wedding I've officiated over the last twenty years. 
I want to share his words with you now. 

In the few moments we've shared together tonight, 
you've made some very sincere and challenging promises to each other. 
But every day after today - you must choose to fill up your words with Christ-like actions. 
As you make your words come true each new day, in each new way, 
God will be honored and you will be blessed."

Mom couldn't have Dad by her side at James' wedding.
But how precious to have [almost] half of his grandkids on every side!

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord! 
I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
    with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
    through all generations.
Job 1:21, Psalm 89:1-2

God is with us and He is for us.
And He promises as we journey through happiness and sorrow,
that not a tear is wasted. In time we'll understand.
He's painting beauty with the ashes.
Our life is in His Hands.
Casting Crowns, THRIVE

*Photo credit:
Jeannie Walker Gaut