I’ve noticed a definite uptick in the quantity of ‘white lace and promises’ around our house in recent weeks.
The latest episode – a ‘flower girl dress-fitting’ for our granddaughter Hannah. She’ll be leading things off next week, just before we walk our daughter Ellen (and Hannah’s aunt) down the aisle to begin her married life.
Hannah’s just adorable in her dress. And there was a moment during the impromptu fitting when she seemed almost wistful…gazing ahead, perhaps, to her own wedding day. Or maybe that was just her sentimental Gramps, getting all gushy…swept away by the sweet memory of his own little girl dressed up in beautiful flower-girl gowns oh-so-many-years ago.
Soon enough, I was thinking back to my own wedding day, and coming to a grateful awareness that I could never have fully appreciated then…what I was seeing take shape before my eyes today: My wife and daughter-in-law, swirling and surrounding dear Hannah in an overflowing abundance of satin, lace and love.
It was a marker moment for me—a chance to notice the grace in everyday life. To notice just how very well Gerri has done these ‘family’ things throughout the almost 36 years we’ve been married.
I had hopes back then, I suppose. But I could never have expected the full measure of blessings that have been poured into my life as Gerri’s spouse. And here’s the cool thing: It turns out she is the answer to a prayer I don’t even remember making on our wedding day. It’s there, in the second reading we had proclaimed at our nuptial Mass:
Put on then—as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved—heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another…And over all these, put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ rule your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.
The dress fitting served to remind me, then, about just how fitting it is to put Christ at the center of things in a relationship. Gerri certainly has done so throughout our life together. In Christ, she has found the grace to forgive and bear with a spouse who’s been thick-as-a-brick on many more occasions than he cares to admit. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see now that she has always tended to pick her fashions well – a designer wardrobe of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Truth be told, I haven’t always fared well in following her lead. You might say my fashion sense isn’t quite as well developed. But I’m glad to say there’s at least a part of our wedding-day reading that suits me very well: It’s only fitting that I be thankful — for a lifetime of blessings, and for prayers answered in many profound and unexpected ways.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.