Posted tagged ‘Wedding’

When You Journey Together For 39 Years

July 29, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        July 29, 2018

                          

It was a hot day in Clarendon Hills, Illinois when Carol and I stood at the front of Community Presbyterian Church and said our wedding vows to one another. It was July 28, 1979 and the baby of the Wolfe family was marrying the middle child of the Faletti clan. I had graduated form Northern Baptist Theological Seminary less than two months before that, began a ministry position at First Baptist Church in Davison, Michigan, and was entering a new phase of my life that could optimistically be entitled “New Discoveries”, but more accurately be called “Clueless!”

We said our vows to one another and headed down the aisle towards the exit. When a bride and groom leave a wedding ceremony they never know what they’re headed into. No, I’m not referring to the reception and honeymoon. I’m talking about the journey of walking into life together. The starry eyes of saying “I do!” soon enter the planned and unplanned happenings of a shared life. 

39 years later Carol and I have said goodbye to each one of our parents, my dad being the final one to depart this past February. We’ve had one dog and five cats. In order of their stays with us there has been Eusebius (C.B), our only experiment into the canine world, Tickles (who lived to be 20 and a 1/2), Prince Charming Kisses, Duke, Katie Katie Cocoa Puffs, and Princess Maliboo (Boo). Our daughters always named the cats, in case you’re wondering!

We’ve lived in two apartments and four houses in the 39 years. We still remember the couple that lived in the apartment beside us the first few months of marriage. They were rather loud as they engaged in their romantic activity. Carol and I thought that maybe there was something wrong with us since we didn’t make noises that sounded like someone was in pain.  We soon got over it!

The journey took us to three different hospital delivery rooms to experience the incredible blessings of God upon us of three children. The birth of our  child, Kecia Corin, involved a Code Blue as she had swallowed some fluid. I stood beside Carol’s bed in the delivery room holding her hand and praying as they worked on our first-born just a few feet to the left. To hear that first scream trumpeting from her lungs was an answer to prayer and reason for praise.

We’ve lost friends that have gone on to Glory, walked the final days of life with several of them, and cried the tears of heartache. We’ve also said goodbye to so many people because of relocation from one place of ministry to the next. The toughest part of ministry is leaving, knowing that the people whose lives have been intertwined with yours for so long will no longer be those that you walk with. We moved from the certainty of what was to the uncertainty of what is to come. 

Carol and I have journeyed together for so long that we know the story that is about to be shared by one of us without even a clue as to what is about to be said. We know our tendencies and our bad habits- my desire for Starbucks coffee in the morning and her Diet Coke from Kum and Go, with a few ounces of regular Coke mixed into it; my snore and her punch in my side; her desire for something sweet while I like something salty. 

When we exited that church sanctuary 39 years ago we didn’t know the valleys we would have to cross or the exhilaration of the mountains we climbed. We weren’t thinking about 39 years when we galloped down the aisle. I wasn’t thinking about much at all except what was to come later on that night! 

It has been 39 years where we’ve trusted in the Lord, but, quite frankly, at other times we haven’t trusted in the Lord. The grace of God has been a dominant part of our journey.

And we love each other more today than every before. Thank you, Lord!

Wedding Rain

July 3, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               July 3, 2016

                                          

I am fortunate in many ways. One of those is being asked by couples to be the officiant for their weddings. I get the privilege of guiding them through their vows, grant the groom permission to kiss his new bride, and introduce them as a newly-wedded couple. Most of the time it’s a pretty cool experience. I stand up front in my marrying and burying suit and give the bride’s mother the nod as to when to stand.

In a time when a lot of people seem to trash the covenant of marriage it seems that a wedding is still seen as being that blessed event, a time of celebration and recognition of this new union.

When I meet with couples who are looking to get married we don’t talk about the wedding until the last session. All of the sessions we have are focused on what it means to be married…the challenges, the adjustments, hopes and dreams, expectations and dealing with frustrations. We talk about communication, deep and meaningful versus shallow and meaningless.

After those sessions then I guide the couple through the wedding ceremony, creating a celebration that is God-honoring and representative of who they are.

Weddings are also unpredictable. One ceremony I officiated was interrupted by the curtain in the chancel area of the sanctuary beginning to fall down. At another ceremony years ago one of the groomsmen passed out for a few moments. We got him propped up and continued. I tell those stories to the couple and make the point that we will not let the unplanned and unpredictable ruin the day; that the ceremony is about the two of them, not about perfection. It’s about them saying their vows to one another, not the fluff of the event.

This weekend I had the honor of presiding over the wedding ceremony of two young people who are awesome “kids!” I’ve known the young lady for seventeen years, coming to be her pastor when she was seven years old. The young man works at the same restaurant that my son is the chef for. He’s like a six foot three inch teddy bear who is deeply in love with his new wife. Fitting their personalities, the wedding was at a ranch. “Big Mike” and his groomsmen were decked out in blue jeans, dress shirts, ties, and black western hats. It fit! I was the only one in a suit, but they let me do the ceremony anyway.

And, of course, the weather reports were as indecisive as a kid with a dollar bill in a candy store. It could be okay…it could be raining…it could be sunny…it could be sunny with rain! The bride took a stand. “We are not getting married inside! If it rains, it rains!”

We pressed on, and at 1:55 the cousin of the bride began escorting grandparents down the aisle. At 2:00 the bridesmaids started their walk.

At thirty seconds after the clock struck two the rain started!

I took my glasses off and put in them in pocket. I motioned for the bride’s uncle to the front with an umbrella. He took his place, looking like my bodyguard/assistant, as the bride came down the aisle. The closer she got to the front the heavier the rain came…and there was no turning back!

We began as the bridesmaids wiped the raindrops off their brows. I trudged ahead, abbreviating statements without minimizing the sacredness of the ceremony. The bride smiled the whole time. The groom grinned as wide as the corral. We moved ahead through vows and the exchanging of the rings. My prayer got shortened a little bit, and Big Mike literally laid a wet kiss on his bride’s lips. I had them turn and face the umbrella-ed audience and as I pronounced them man and wife the rain stopped!

Eleven minutes! The ceremony took eleven minutes. It rained for ten minutes and fifty seconds!

And they were okay with it! In my prayer I asked that, just like the shower, God would rain down his blessings upon the newlyweds in the coming years, that they would look back at the day of their wedding…the rain and the gathering of family and friends…and see it as a symbolic reminder of how blessed they are.

I’ve always sensed that God has a sense of humor…God-humor, I guess you could call it. And wouldn’t you know it? About thirty minutes after the wet wedding the sun emerged to shine down upon the two “kids”, who now seemed a little more grown-up!

Post Wedding Fatigue

October 15, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                       October 14, 2013

 

 

Weddings are more exhausting than NCAA Final Fours or early morning Black Friday in front of Best Buy. Today…two days after my daughter’s wedding…I’m drained! I have a “countdown until bedtime” going on my smart phone.

There may not be a single spiritual nugget in this blog, because I’m not processing clearly. The letters on the keyboard are rrrruuuunnnniiinnnggggg together! The Starbucks Ethiopian Dark Roast has run it’s course. Thirty ounces was not enough!

Weddings are points of light that stand out. You realize that your child has grown up. You remember the years…the smile before her first day of kindergarten with two teeth missing…the time that Jake Wassner hit her in the head with a rock…kicking the For Sale sign over in front of our house in Mason, Michigan…the sparkle of being one of the Homecoming attendants…meeting Mike Terveen for the first time…college graduation…counseling kids at middle school camp…Skyping with us last Christmas as we opened presents…Papaw Wolfe giving her the diamond bracelet he bought for my mom on their 60th anniversary, and having a box of tissues ready for Lizi right after that.

Weddings are moments of looking back and looking ahead. They are time of realizing that she is no longer our little girl…and being deeply proud of who she has become.

And now I’m toasted!

So is our bank account….but it’s okay! Years from now she will look back, as well as everyone who was there, and there will be smiles. She will remember it as being a blessed day, a time she will not forget. We will remember it as a day in which we realized how blessed we are.

Father of the Bride Reservations

September 27, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                   September 27, 2013

 

 

     Fifteen days until my youngest daughter’s wedding! We’re shifting into wedding gear tonight. that’s like Nascar drivers entering into the final lap. There is a reckless abandon as we take the engines to their limit.

For us that means cleaning a couple of rooms at the house tonight. I have to clean my home study! That’s about as appealing as gargling Geritol!

Garage vacuuming is on the horizon. Cleaning the outdoor grill will soon be upon me…even though we won’t be using it.

A wedding is an event, kind of like our own Super Bowl festivities without the commercials…or the football game.

On October 12 at 4:45 (estimated) I’ll walk my baby down the aisle to be wedded to Mike Terveen. I’m happy…and reluctant at the same time. She has been ours for twenty-five years. We remember when she was born at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan. We remember her first day of school…missing two front teeth as she smiled. We remembered when she was eating at a Pizza Hut and she was totally unaware that  a piece of sausage was stuck to her right cheek. We remember when she was on the Homecoming Court at Liberty High School, and when we dropped her off at college seven hundred miles away from home and considered relocating just off campus!

We also remember when she introduced us to Mike, and we could tell that she was smitten. The next few years included break-ups, sorting out differences, solidifying the relationship, and then a ring. Mike called me to ask my permission to pop the question. I appreciated that.

As I consider “the walk” in two weeks I am even more amazed that God would give up his son for people like me. Just as I have reservations about giving the hand of my daughter to the man she will journey on with, I can’t imagine that our Heavenly Father didn’t have any reservations about handing his child over to those who would put him to death.

Some might accuse me of distorted theology, but for me to view God as a totally willing participant is to make him into an insensitive, stoic deity. It had to have grieved him more than anything else. As Jesus struggled to Golgotha under the weight of the sin of the world his father must have struggled in some way.

Giving my daughter in marriage to the man she loves is simply a transition point for me. It’s a celebration even as I display eyes that are red. But imagine God giving his son up, not because of a celebration, but because of a death sentence. What depth of love for us does that convey?

This is my baby that I walk down the aisle, but this was God’s Only!

Amazing love!