Silence. The pause between background music that in a few long seconds will become the soundtrack to a scene I never forget. The doors at the far end of the center aisle open. In that moment, I realize the doors were not only letting someone in, but also letting out my past, my mistakes, my misguided want, my aimless wandering. Because the room I'm standing in cannot hold both hope and despair, happiness and dread. There's not enough space for blame and guilt and when those doors open, all that's in my history of missing the mark exits. In the doorway stands the proof that God loves me. She stands next to her father (who puffs out his chest, not too much, but just enough for people to notice, because he's so proud of his daughter). He suspects that she found a man that might possibly love her more than he does, that will make her laugh, and that will serve her well. He knows very soon the time will come to give her away, that's why her life has been flashing before his eyes all morning.
The music begins to play. A bagpipe?? Yes, a bagpipe! (It was the groom's only wedding request, so everyone just goes along with it). Her mom stands up and turns to see her walk towards me. The crowd rises in wedding tradition and elevates the emotion and worth of the moment. I glance over my shoulder to see my brother. He sees in my eyes that this moment, this is a big moment. The only other time I remember a glance like this from him was about 10 years ago after we won an intramural softball game...
You see, earlier that same day I wrestled with how I could contribute to the softball team. We were in the playoffs and I wanted so badly to help us win. And by helping us win, I mean play in the game and do well. But up to that point I was pretty much just a reserve player. Only playing in games that were already won or lost by the time I got in. So I prayed for humility and decided that if all I could do was cheer on our team, I'd cheer the loudest and longest. However, late in this particular playoff game, with the score still dangerously close, the captain put me in at center field. Soon after the inning started, I caught a fly ball for the third out of the inning. In the bottom of that same inning, I was up to bat. I hit a single and that single allowed the winning run to cross home plate. We won the game! While we were still celebrating the victory, I looked at my brother, the star short stop. He was smiling and he was shaking his head, such a proud look as if to say, "you see what God can do!?" That was the glance.
And now here he is, my best man looking at me and smiling with his proud look, saying the same thing, "you see what God can do!? You are hitting a homerun this time!" I would not trade that look in this moment for anything else. Nor would I trade what I see next. This unbelievable creation walking down the aisle, with her sparkling white dress, her cute smile. In this moment, I know that I will never want anyone the way I want her.
End of part 1. Come back August 1st for more!