The day is here. It began for my friend a little over 21 years ago. Seven days before I made a life-altering choice her life changed with the birth of a girl. A girl who I held as a baby. I watched toddle across the back, binky in her mouth, holding her daddy’s hand. Who 9 years later sat on my couch and held my own daughter. The teenager who became my daughter’s favorite babysitter. The one who introduced the world of horses to my horse girl. Today, this girl, now a beautiful woman, marries her best friend.
It’s been a countdown in this household from the moment the invitation arrived. “How many days until the wedding?” “Mom, when can we get new dresses?” “Mom, did you know Ruby is getting married?” Even the husband has interjected…although I think it’s more because he realizes his turn to give a daughter away is coming sooner than he’d like. As I enjoy the calm before my own girls wake up and we begin the task of primping, I can’t help but think about a morning 21 years ago…
A young girl, barely a woman — standing on the edge of eternity with a boy, barely a man. Neither of us prepared to face the arduous task of building a life together. Both naïve about our abilities to actually keep the vows we were preparing to make. I woke that morning alone. I went to sleep that night beside the man I said I’d love “til death do us part”.
That day I married the husband and lost my best friend. I said I do to being his wife, but I didn’t say I do to being his confidante. I said I do to being the one he wanted in the night, but I didn’t say I do to being the one he loved. I said I do to being the person I thought he needed, but I didn’t say I do to the one his soul desired. I said I do…but it took me YEARS to realize what that meant.
I long ago left the ache. The one left by my own decision. To begin a marriage in secret. In defiance against the well-intentioned actions of those around me. That ache was eased by my Abba’s miraculous touch and the strong arms that now hold me tightly every night. No. This morning I remember the sweet moment I said “I do”. Quiet, softly, sweetly. I may have been misguided for a moment, but deep inside my heart knew where it was going.
I think of my friend’s sweet girl today and the man who will stand beside her. They will make their vows before their parents, their families, their friends and the Creator who brought them together. We will celebrate and embrace the couple they become. It will be a day of dancing and laughter and smiles and tears. No pretenses. No long drawn-out sermons that have no place in a wedding. No strict rules of sleeve lengths and fabric colors and appropriate ways of praising. Just a group of people, living in freedom, celebrating the birth of something so holy and beautiful and downright amazing.
Today is just day one of a lifetime. A lifetime of joy and sorrow. Decisions. Choices. Mistakes. Successes. I wish them love and health and happiness. When those hard days come…and they will…I pray they remember this day. The words they say. The vows they make. The people who stand behind them, celebrating who they are. I hope they feel all the love put into both of them by their mothers and fathers. They draw from a deep well of love surrounding them. To never give up. Never quit loving. Never forget that what God has put together, they cannot sever. Not without eternal consequences.
The party begins in a few hours. Tears are already flowing as I think of this girl marrying a boy who matches her so perfectly. Thrilled that I get to be there. Heart full.