Gifts Sublime

"Clothe yourself in love. Putting on the garment of love every day means making the decision every day to love the other. It won’t always be butterflies and roses. Sometimes it’s an act of will..."

           --from Rev. Viki Matson’s (my sister) message this weekend, after marrying my son and daughter-in-law.

We have a fixed way of living and we cannot break away from it.

Sometimes a combination of circumstance, ignorance and apathy renders us incapable of doing anything but our own will. And it is very often wrong. A good friend sums it up well: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” 

We have met the enemy. And he is us.

Sometimes I need the occasional whack upside the head with a 2-by-4 to be reminded. Other times, I need only open my eyes, mind and heart. With wing tips on the ground, knee-deep in the hoopla surrounding my son, Scott and his bride, Amanda’s wedding this weekend, the gifts were abundant and ubiquitous, to wit:

Scott’s best man’s wife, Corinne. His mother-in-law, Nancy. My father’s wife, Glenna. My sister’s life partner, Emily. My brother’s wife, Cindy.

My wife, Jackie.

My son’s wife, Amanda.

These women we marry.

God places them in our lives and gives us the opportunity to love and honor them. Yeah, OK, obey, too (within reason). =) 

Snippet of a text convo to arrange some morning-after wedding logistics: 

Me: “How’s your bride?”

Scott: “Perfect.”

We can spend the rest of our lives serving them and it won’t be sufficient. If we don’t try to micro-manage the outcome and expect nothing in return, they will help us get out of ourselves and we can begin... to try... to measure up. 

And if we are patient, one day if we are truly fortunate, God may allow us the opportunity to return the favor.

Gifts for the newlyweds that transcend blenders and gravy boats.

Four years ago when he entered med school, Scott and a friend bought a house in KCK. With graduation, marriage and residency imminent, they sold it without a hitch.

Scott and Amanda’s move to Denver to begin medical residency and married life is now mere days away. They traveled west a couple of weeks ago armed with hope and a short list of requisites to find a place to live. In the span of a couple of days they found it. With an enclosed back yard for their dog, Emmett, and friendly neighbors who love dogs.

Little things. Cars that should have long since crapped out are hanging in.

Threatening skies the day of their outdoor wedding gave way to bright sunshine.  

These things don’t “just happen.”

We don't know what we don't know. But if we slow down long enough to breathe... and get out of ourselves, we have the opportunity to overcome ignorance and apathy and the gifts become tangible.

And after a wall-to-wall weekend of ferrying bridesmaids, managing logistics, the countless details that adorn the 21st century American wedding, I can sit quietly in my living room, sipping a cup of coffee my new daughter-in-law brought me from Africa, watching the rain fall on a plant Jackie and I kept from her father's funeral a year ago.

I can begin to see these things for what they truly are.

And be grateful.