Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Has It Really Been 38 Years?

They stood at the altar with all the butterflies their stomachs could hold. They were really not much more than a couple of kids. Yet there they stood, deeply in love, and ready to take vows pledging to stay together until death, alone, should part them. She was a radiant 20 year old beauty - he, a baby faced fellow with a full head of thick curly hair - both of them ready to embark on the uncharted sea of holy matrimony.

The temperature in the packed church auditorium was stifling. When the ushers had illuminated the candles, it seemed as though the air conditioning might extinguish them. Some of the candles flickered dangerously close to being extinguished. So, a well meaning member of the congregation (the church's choir director) took it upon himself to turn off the A/C. Not turn it down, mind you, but off! With nearly three hundred wedding guests packed into the sanctuary, and the June 19th sun beating down upon the hot metal roof, the temperature inside the place had the well dressed gentlemen sweating profusely and the decked out ladies "glowing". Wedding programs quickly became makeshift fans, and flickered in the faces of many of the ladies in the packed pews.

Meanwhile at the altar, the young couple was oblivious to what was going on behind them. They stood there with her older sister, his younger brother, and eight other bridesmaids and groomsmen, listening intently to the groom's father read the wedding vows they were repeating. The phrases were repeated, "To love and to cherish from this day forward... for better or worse... for richer, for poorer... in sickness and in health...". They had no clue what lay ahead - (all of the above) - but they dutifully made the promises, "before God and these witnesses" as his minister/father had reminded them all in his opening remarks.

As in most weddings, the ceremony had it's comedic moments. One of the groomsmen (who had missed the rehearsal the night before) barely arrived just before the start of the ceremony. Then came the service itself, with a couple of memorable moments.

The father of the bride was very nervous about not muffing his one line during the giving away of the bride. Well, he did exactly that. Oh, he said, "Her mother and I" perfectly. He just said it too soon. Being hearing impaired, he was at a distinct disadvantage. So, when the minister intoned, "If anyone knows any reason why these two should not lawfully be joined together, let him speak now or forever hold his peace" he stopped for the obligatory pause. When the father of the bride noticed that no one else was speaking, he cleared his throat and boldly spoke his line, "Ahem! Her mother and I!". As the giggles spread throughout the row of bridesmaids and the bride squeezed her father's arm, he realized he had done something very wrong. The seasoned pastor, never flinched, without looking up, he calmly continued with the ceremony. However, when the time came for the actual giving away of the bride, her embarrassed father was gun shy. With coaching from the pastor and the bride, the "give away" transaction was finally accomplished, and the bride's father gladly took his seat beside his wife.

Then there was the issue of the ring exchange. When bride and groom came together to join hands, she whispered nervously, "Sissie forgot the ring!". In the rush of the pre wedding preparations, the Matron of Honor had inadvertently left the groom's ring in her purse in the dressing room. No problem, the show just went on without it. They were pronounced man and wife and everyone went across the hall to the church "sewing room" fellowship hall for the reception.

Apparently the ceremony "took" because now, 38 years, two children, and four grandsons later, the couple is still together. There have been good times and bad (thankfully more good than bad); economic ups and downs; good health - and a couple of years of terrible sickness, but the marriage has held through it all. Not because the couple was any better than any other, but because the marriage was based on more than just "being in love". It has been marriage the old fashioned way - one man, one woman, committed to God and to one another. A household of faith that will not fall down when the strong winds blow.

I thank my God for giving me Linda as my life partner in 1971. I am so undeserving of His love - and hers, but nevertheless, I have been the recipient of both.

Thanks for 38 wonderful years, Baboo. Thanks for the two fine sons you have given me. Thanks for your tender care for me when I was so sick, and for your love and care at all the other times as well. You mean the world to me. Thanks for everything.
"I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow".


dan biser said...

happy aniversary to you; isn't God good to keep us and allow for us to enjoy memories of that eventful day knowing that He provdies the right spouse for us; wonderful testimony of God's faithfulness and blessings; take care, until, dan

Pastor Jim said...

Congratulations! Continue modeling that picture of Christ's love for the Church for many, many more years.

Darrell Clark said...

Happy Anniversary to the both of you!! As you and I have agreed numerous times, we are both very blessed individuals and we both have "married up"!!! Debbie & I are 6 years behind you. May God bless you both!