Rain is pouring down as the Bride walks to the two-hundred-year-old church. Four men, wearing yellow rain jackets, carry a canopy over her (and the beautifully embellished wedding gown with an eight-foot train). Her sister—the Matron of Honor—and her parents are all squeezed under the canopy as well.
Horns blow, and people wave, as well-wishers watch the processional. It wasn’t supposed to rain, of course. Right up until the morning of the wedding, the forecast was for perfect weather. The bride and groom would be walking directly from the church to the riverfront for photos as guests mingled outside the church before leisurely strolling to the reception three doors away. The sun would be shining (not too brightly, not too hot, of course), birds would be singing and, there would be a soft breeze—it would be a “perfect” day.
But it rained. And, you know what? That rain will always be a “that wasn’t supposed to happen”, funny, memorable “life exclamation point”!
I recently read a book by an extremely gifted author. There were a lot of (what seemed like) run-on sentences without enough punctuation. It took me about a chapter to get into his style of writing, and as I was reading it occurred to me that we often have lives that look like run-on sentences. We move from one day to another without a second thought—our experiences happening so fast that we don’t even “see” them”.
And, there are also times when our lives are filled with question marks and exclamation points.
The bride in the rain is my daughter Erin, and her beautiful wedding took place just four days ago.
Erin and, my now Son-In-Law, Dave are traditionalists, and their wedding represented what is important to them. The weekend started off with rehearsal and, then, dinner with toasts given by the parents. The next day was the wedding—poignant and full of sentiment and love. The ceremony included a beautiful service led by a dear friend—one of the Pastors of my faith community, who was joined by the Pastor of the stunning church in Wilkes-Barre where they were wed. Their reception was held at a private club in a Georgian mansion, where the wait-staff wore white gloves and an eight-piece band played in the background.
As the rain came down after the wedding, we stood on the second-floor portico of the club. The photographer snapped away as we watched wedding guests—who came from as far away as Alaska, California, Oregon, and Nevada—stream down the sidewalk below us. Family and friends celebrated this couple who found each other—who found the gift of the right person in a country of over three-hundred million people. (blessings upon blessings)
Just like the book I was talking about, sometimes we have “life run-on sentences”:
I left work and then picked up the kids then had to go to the grocery store to find something for dinner and then get back and feed the kids (or the pets or the plants) and then pay the bills throw some laundry in the washer make lunches for tomorrow (or doctors’ appointments or plans for guests) and then check-in with my aging parents and, (deep breath) oh yeah, I still have to prepare the notes for tomorrow’s meeting…….
Sometimes we have “life question marks”:
Why is this happening to me?
Haven’t I been through enough?
How am I going to move forward?
Sometimes our “life exclamation points” aren’t positive ones:
I can’t take anymore!
Please, God, give me a break!
And, sometimes, when all is well with the world—when the energy of love dances with the energy of joy—we find nirvana. We sit in the presence of grace and are filled-up with the awe of this life and of all that is possible when the stars align. It is then that our “life exclamation points” are ones of joy.
This year has been one of many wonderful exclamation points: a surprise sixtieth birthday party in January, a February wedding in the sun, a thirteenth, full-fledged, “murder mystery” birthday party last month and now an amazing, September wedding where God’s gentle rain added to the glory. Exclamation point, upon exclamation point, upon exclamation point.
In my heart, I will always hear Erin and Dave each say, “I do”. In my heart, I will always remember the poignant moments between my husband and Erin and between my two daughters. In my heart, I will always remember the laughter and singing and the guests who added their smiles to the weekend. And, I will remember, most of all, love—the kind that is life-changing and life-affirming, the kind that changes an ordinary weekend into a celebration of life. The kind with the best kind of exclamation point at the end of it.
So, again, I say, “Thank you, God”.
Congratulations Erin and Dave.
I love you,