My Bucket List is something that is not a do or die, more of maybe-it-can-happen. This weekend celebrated one of my answered prayers, as my son dedicated his heart to his wife in a beautiful ceremony atop Monte Sano in North Alabama. To add to the blessing, I was asked by Justin and Anna to conduct the ceremony.
There are some things that leave the punch of words in a bankrupt status. It is very rare to see a couple who, once they are brought together in life, were absolutely meant to be. My wife and I have prayed for our son’s mate, and are still praying for our daughter’s husband, all of his life. We prayed that God would keep them safe and guide them through life, until the time in which they are meant to meet their mates. When I met Anna, I knew she was the one for whom I had prayed all of these years. I can only equate our introduction to meeting a celebrity. To think, the day she was born, Tammy and I were praying for her. Her first day of school, we were praying. When she was nervous before a ballet recital as a little girl, we were praying. During her joyful and sad times, we were praying. Now, she stood in front of us with her beautiful smile that conveyed a kind and gentle spirit; this was way before Justin and Anna had discussed marriage and were only dating at the time. It was almost as if God was saying, “May I introduce you to your husband’s wife?” I know that some of you will balk at that notion, but it the absolute truth. I knew without a doubt, and it resonated deeply in my heart that she was the one that was given by God as a complement to my son. No, I did not say anything to them. It was later, on the ride home, when Tammy and I looked at each other and smiled.
The days and weeks rolled through, and things appeared more and more serious. After Justin and I discussed a few things on the phone, one afternoon, he talked to Anna’s father about her hand in marriage and asked for his blessing. Anna’s parents are wonderful, family-oriented people, and it is evident that they have God as the centrality of their marriage. Well, as many of you know, at this point, things speed up. One of the many things I will never forget is when Justin asked me to go pick up the ring with him.
He rode around with the ring in the glove compartment of his car, until he could plan things out for the perfect time to ask Anna. It came on a trip to Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. Anna squeaked out a “yes,” and things sped up even more. It was during this time frame, when we met Anna’s parents for the first time (we live four hours away). David and Paige could not have been more inviting to us. Tammy and I agreed that it felt as if we had known each other for years. Every time I thought of God’s perfect timing, I am amazed and in awe. Even the events that led up to Justin and Anna even meeting is a wonderful story.
When the day of their marriage came on us, it was joyfully tough. My son was transitioning to another level. I had to keep reminding myself of how bright and beautiful and wonderful our future is, with the addition of Anna. Not that there was any hesitation about the marriage, but for the second time in my life (the first being his move to college), Justin was moving much further away from being my little boy; in reality, the little boy was disappearing, with only sparse glimpses, every now and then, like the way he rubs his eyes when he is sleepy. Although he has been a man for some time now, I was seeing him in a whole new light. We would look at each other in the groom’s room, and I had no advice to give him. He was prepared for this and had been preparing for this all of his life. I know that I gave him poor examples of being a husband, but I prayed that the good far outweighed the bad. He smiled at me several times, each one a confident reminder that everything was okay. Ironically, his smile was reassuring me!
In the ceremony, Justin was calm and confident. It radiated from him how much he truly loved Anna. As I went through the message and vows, I was praying that I would not lose it with absolute tears of joy. When I announced Justin and Anna as husband and wife, their eyes beam happiness, as they glided back into the lodge for the reception. It was a joyous occasion that eventually ended, as Justin and Anna walked to their car in a shower of sparklers and well wishes.
As they drove away, I felt like screaming for joy. I was witnessing the branching out of our family. God has blessed and continues to bless Tammy and me so very much. We talk a lot now about what the future holds, but we also know WHO holds it. In this post, I have tried to convey my utter happiness at striking this one off of my bucket list. I must have typed a thousand different words, erased, typed more and settled on a few. I am so happy right now. Justin and Anna are on their honeymoon, and I am on cloud nine.