I’m a minister. I’ve seen my share of weddings. However, the best wedding I ever went to was one I just recently performed. I married two octogenarians. This is how it happened:
The Back Story
Jim and Louise met at the retirement community they were both a part of. They had both lost their spouses a few years before (I helped perform Jim’s first wife’s funeral) but both felt it was time to move on.
They began dating, and in no time at all they were engaged. Everyone was shocked, especially the family. No one realized what was happening until their announcement.
Don’t get me wrong. We were all happy for Jim and Louise. Actually, we were thrilled! I was even more thrilled when Jim asked me if I would perform the ceremony.
I had only known him for three years, and I didn’t know Louise at all! However, I had grown close to Jim’s son and had gotten to know Jim well over those three years. I was honored and readily agreed to his request.
The weather on the day of the rehearsal called for rain in Grizzly Flats, a small community nestled high in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. We sometimes get foul weather in April at 4000 feet, but this weather report didn’t seem to pose any kind of threat.
Rain fell as we stepped inside the church to practice the ceremony. When we came out, there on the ground lay several inches of the cold, white stuff. It had snowed!
I knew the trip back down to the lower elevations where everyone lived would be treacherous. I prayed everyone would get home safely. They did.
Jim and Louise wanted a simple wedding. Louise didn’t wear the traditional white. We used no sound system. Neither invited anyone beyond family or those helping with the event. It was simple yet elegant with only a few decorations to celebrate this nuptial.
The ceremony was short just as the bride and groom had requested. That was good considering their age. There were the normal stumbles and slips during the vows. Jim dropped the ring, barely missing a hole in the stage where the sound system wires would have emerged through the floor. Fortunately, the ring bounced the other direction. No harm done.
Jim and Louise said their vows, swapped rings and rode off into the sunset.
What made this the best wedding I ever attended? It was Jim’s and Louie’s desire to do the right thing. They could have just figured they didn’t have to get married at their age. What’s the use? There are many who do that today.
But that isn’t what they wanted to do. They felt it was still important to commit themselves to one another in the sight of God. They made promises to each other to take care of each other until death parted them.
I found that refreshing. In a world where most people distrust those around them, there are still two people who feel the need to commit the most precious treasure they have, their own lives, to each other. It’s a lesson that would well serve all of us if we heeded it.