I spent last week in the Panhandle at my parents' house, assisting my sister in preparing for her wedding on Saturday. I had the joy of presiding over her and my new brother-in-law's wedding. It was my first wedding to officiate, so I decided I'd start with something low-key. Not!
I didn't give myself much time to think about what I was doing or how it would all go together before the wedding since I knew I'd feel nervous and worried that I'd mess something up. I spent a lot of time talking with Dan about how everything was organized and what each component represented for the ceremony. At this point, I've planned several worship services, and approaching the wedding from the same perspective significantly reduced my anxiety.
The closer we got to the wedding, the more scared I became. I was primarily worried that I'd become choked up and have problems continuing. I am a sensitive person at times, and I knew my sister's wedding would be the perfect trigger. Fortunately, I was able to keep it together for the majority of the day, with only a few tears shed here and there with my family. The most difficult part of the occasion was the dance between my father and sister.
As I reflect on what it meant to me to officiate a wedding for the first time, particularly my sister's, I am struck by how beautiful it is to show up for someone you care about. So frequently, we consider what we can do for others by counting the physical resources we can offer them. What can I give this person to demonstrate how much they mean to me? As much as I know it meant to my sister and brother-in-law to have me conduct their wedding, it meant much more to me for them to offer me such a gift, and for me to give them one in return.
It felt incredible to witness my sister and brother-in-law's love. To assist them in sharing their vows with one another. To promise their lives to each other and to assist them in declaring their love in front of everyone in their communities who supports them. I would have been there to support them even if I hadn't done the wedding, but taking the time to craft the ceremony to fit them was something so special I cannot put it into words. We have so many opportunities to show up for people in our life, and we don't always know how important that may be for everyone. I’m challenging myself to start recognizing those moments for the unique joys that they are. I hope you will join me in seeking out that same kind of wonder and joy in the days to come.