Published: Wednesday, 23 March 2016 21:23
Written by Bethany Looyenga
This is a special feature story of a wedding. My friend Leslie married last Fall, and this tells the story through the eyes of her groom. He is a brave, Godly man.
Where You Go, I Will Go…
My eyes shot open and I was instantly fully awake. There was no grogginess to let the realization of the day’s magnitude seep into my realization. I woke with my mind shouting, “IT’S YOUR WEDDING DAY!”
I lay in the darkness with just a sliver of light from the street peeking through my bedroom window. There were only two sounds that spoiled complete silence. I could hear the blustery wind outside churning up unpredictably, then calming and churning again. And, I could hear the hurried and steady beating of my heart, a strange combination of the flurry of what was happening just outside of me and the excited poom-POOM-poom-POOM-poom-POOM… of what was happening inside me.
I listened to the play of rhythms till dawn, when I sat up and began to live out the day that I had doubted for so long. Then the questions began, like the whirling wind. Will anyone be able to hear us in this wind? Is everything for the wedding party already at the church? Do I have time to get the coffee and doughnuts? Is this really happening? Am I sure that I am sure that this is right? What shirt do I wear to my own wedding? Is there any gas in my car? Thoughts rushed and surged. It wasn’t until I made my way outside that the cool wind slapped me into focus. I stood on the front step for a few moments and breathed in the fresh air and I suddenly remembered what all the rushing and tumble of my thoughts was really about: Leslie.
Poom-POOM-poom-POOM… She is going to be my wife… Poom-POOM-poom-POOM.
Thoughts of my beautiful bride-to-be both steadied and calmed me. When I got into my car, I paused again, thanking God for her, the day and for a promise on the verge of fulfillment.
As I eased my car out into the road focus remained, but it was off. Details became intensely magnified while I became oblivious to very practical things. Every breath became noticeable, almost intentional and I noticed leaves skitter past me, spinning in the wind. I noticed a small shaking, murmur coming from my defrost fan; all this while I didn’t notice a side street stop sign until I was through the intersection.
Poom-POOM-poom-POOM… Leslie is going to be my wife… Poom-POOM-poom-POOM.
When I did stop in to get doughnuts, the girl behind the counter asked, “How you doin’ today?”
It was fun to reply, “Well, I’m getting married today, so I’m great!”
The guy behind me bought the doughnuts.
I got underway again and my driving became even more cautious. Anticipation gathered and exploded and gathered again. Every movement intensified and slowed as my heart kept beating faster. Making a left turn: turning on the signal and waiting for oncoming cars to pass seemed agonizingly slow and the quiet surrounding me as I waited at a stoplight almost crushed me.
Finally, my heart leapt as I turned into the church. There weren’t many cars in the lot and the trees on each side were busy wrestling with the wind. I crept into a space and sat with my engine running. I just stared at the church, I’m not even sure I blinked. Thoughts of Leslie flooded my mind. She was in that building, somewhere. Making preparations. Getting ready to become my wife.
I snapped out of it when a particularly strong gust shook my car. It was time to go in—deliver the baked goods and to get ready myself. I came in the door, turned to the right and was met by Bethany, one of Leslie’s bridesmaids. We said hello, giggling, and chatted before I handed her the food for the ladies and made my way to the Sunday school room that would serve as a dressing room for the men.
I entered, left the lights off and sat in a chair bowing my head as my hands instinctively folded into one another.
Poom-POOM-Poom-POOM-poom-POOM. It all hit me, all at once – What Leslie and I had already been through. Poom-POOM— the messiness of ex-husbands and step kids—Poom-POOM-Poom-POOM the magnitude of the commitment, the doubts of some that this was right and biblical, the doubts I had in myself of being strong enough for this -- Poom-POOM-Poom-POOM-poom-POOM—
I simply asked for mercy.
Then, calmly, the story of Ruth flowed into my mind. Leslie and I had read it together and, at least for me, it had become a picture of what I wanted out lives to be together, a picture of redemption. She chose to journey to an entirely new world with nothing to gain, she chose to trust when possibilities seemed almost non-existent; she chose love over safety. That’s what I was doing, choosing love over safety.
And I loved Leslie. She was going to be my wife.