Friday, June 08, 2007
Vows made and broken
For my 52nd birthday, we attended the wedding of a dear friend's only daughter. The bride is pretty special to me - I've known her since she was about 12. She looked radiant, barely able to keep her smile contained on her face. It's a day she's been planning since before I met her. Her mother is one of those friends most people never have, in the span of a lifetime. The kind of friend you could call in the middle of the night, and she'd be there in a minute; she tells me when I'm wrong, and loves me through it, and celebrates all my joys and sorrows with me. A real treasure. During the reception, over 300 people serenaded me with Happy Birthday, touching, considering all my friend had on her mind today and she somehow remembered. There was even a birthday candle at my plate, so I could make a wish. A great way to spend a birthday all around.

During the ceremony, I listened to the vows the couple had written. Some lines were repeated, some were said just by the bride or by the groom. One they each spoke - "I promise to always look out for your best interest, even at my own expense" struck me. I sat through the ceremony holding hands with my sweet husband of 26 years, thinking back to our own ceremony sans music or candles or an aisle or flowers, but the same stars in our eyes. We had a simple civil ceremony and I have no idea what words we spoke, but they likely weren't very flowery. I've often wondered if I actually vowed to "obey". I thought of how this young couple will try to live up to those words they spoke, and how many times they will fail. In spite of the promises they made tonight. I thought of how many times I've failed, sometimes knowingly and sometimes in ignorance, to look out for Don's best interests. Sometimes I've just been selfish, other times lazy, and most often - clueless. Clueless as to how much impact my actions have had on him, his self-esteem, his view of the world and his place in it, his trust of me or others, dreams he was brave enough to dream and I shot them down, or at the very least crushed them a bit.

The vows this young couple spoke tonight they meant in earnest. They'll try. They'll fail. Years down the road they will hopefully hold hands somewhere, listening to another couple make their pledges, while looking over their shoulders at the journey they've made together, and they'll see where they have failed each other. Weddings are wonderful, and I sometimes wish ours had held a bit more of the pomp and circumstance. But sitting there, holding hands with this man who has seen me fail more times than I can count, and loves me with a love the closest to that of Jesus of anyone on the face of this earth, who loves me knowing if I were to make that vow today I would not live up to it, and yet he still loves me with all he has - that was all the birthday gift a girl could hope for.

Being serenaded by 300 people, sipping wine and eating a lovely dinner, then dancing one slow dance with this man I love more every day - that was all just icing on the cake.

  posted at 10:54 PM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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