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For My Friends, On Their Wedding Day

July 18, 2011

There is a breeze that floats up over the ridge of rolling hills and boulders and running water.  There is a breeze that tousles her veil, lifts it up off her shoulders and then brings it down delicately.  The breeze repeats this motion again and again as she stands there, smiling.

I’m so overwhelmed with beauty and love that I start to physically ache.  Is it possible for joy to pulse out of my heart, spread through my veins, and perhaps escape out into the world from the pores of my skin?  Is it possible to be this happy, this overjoyed by the grace and magnitude of this occasion that I can’t possibly stand still?  Is this moment enough for the ten years of love that has built up for these two friends of mine?  Does this moment do it all justice?

The clouds are milky as they spread themselves thin across the sky.  The sun gives light behind them and makes its rays visible on the Rockies below.  I can see for miles.  I can see cities and foothills and lakes and streams in every direction I turn, but I am fixated on this moment.  This spot, this place in time that no sunset or valley or purple mountain majesty can possibly replace.  I am watching my friends take their wedding vows.  I am watching his eyes lock into hers, watching his chest rise and catch with a stutter of emotion.  I am watching him pledge his life to her.  And I am watching her fingers.  Her fingers that clench his, that are delicate and graceful and moving with the nervous-excitement of a wedding day.  I am watching her thumb on top of his hand, watching it move affectionately back and forth, I am watching her commit her life to his.

There are feathers on her dress and in her hair.  He has pin stripes on his suit and a shiny silver vest that gives him a distinguished look.  The bridge and the groom – they look the part.  So in love and so alive on this day.  I look at them in disbelief that they are here, exchanging vows, accepting the role of husband and wife.  It hasn’t always been the smoothest road for my two friends, but here we are.  Here they stand.  What have I done to deserve the blessing of witnessing this moment?

I can’t remember all that the pastor said.  I can’t remember all the words I exchanged with each of them over the course of the day.  And in a manner very unlike me, I can’t even exactly remember the way the sky looked or the way the birds sounded or the way the sun sank low behind the mountains as they shared their first kiss.  I just remember their faces.  The tear that gathered in the corner of his eye as she walked down the aisle.  Her hand lifted in worship as we sang “In Christ Alone.”  Their eyes closed in prayer, and their families around them.  I remember the small stutters between the I’s and the do’s and the until-death-do-us-parts.  I remember the overwhelming feeling of love.  And I remember wishing if only that word could even give justice to this day.

I started the day in tears of happiness.  I left the day the same way.  And now, as I sit here to scribe it all down in a way that I hope will honor them both, I wipe salty drops from my cheeks.  So few get to witness these days.  And so few get to have experienced all the years leading up to an exchange of vows and rings and hearts and lives.  So few have been able to call both bride and groom – friend.  I am lucky.  So very, very lucky.  Words cannot possibly contain it all.

“this amazing day”

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

~ e.e. cummings ~

(Complete Poems 1904-1962)

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