Have you ever looked into the face of someone you love, someone you miss, someone you treasure, and been crushed or humbled by the exhaustion in their eyes? This happened to me today.
Before I explain this point to you, I want to tell you about the wedding (because I’m a woman and these things are incredibly exciting and important to me). First of all, the ceremony was rustically themed. That’s right all of my fellow pinners on Pinterest: whenever you see something with burlap, leaves, hay bales, or maple syrup, you catch a glimpse of the theme of this wedding. I saw lots of people that I knew there. Many of those who knew me eagerly made their way over to where I was standing so that they could talk to me and hug me and ask about how I was doing in the city. I never realized how much the people close to me missed me.
The entire wedding party looked immaculate, coordinated, and sharp. The groomsmen and the groom wore the standard black tux with a shiny brown vest underneath, complemented by a like-color tie; the bridesmaids wore forest green dresses and brownish-gold jewelry. All the members of the party had bouquets and boutonnieres of yellow roses, lavender, artificial fall leaves, and feathery greenery. But the bride…oh the bride…she was truly the pinnacle of the ceremony.
This woman most of us know to be more of a tomboy; she’s certainly a perfect match for her groom. She’s not into feminine things except on very special occasions. This was the most feminine we had ever seen her. Her dress was the brightest white you could imagine; rhinestones decorated the bodice. Her hair was curled in fairytale ringlets and adorned with a tasteful tiara. But none of us were really looking at all of that; the only thing we saw was the joy radiating from her smile.
The ceremony was short and fun for everyone involved. Everyone was truly excited to be there, witnessing this covenant being made by two people who love not only one another but also Jesus Christ. I was nearly jumping up and down in excitement and me and my hometown Pastor’s wife were crying and getting all emotional.
As I went through to see the newly weds, they were so excited to see me…which I find odd because I felt I should be more excited to see them. They were so relieved that I had made it to the wedding, making me feel incredibly special on a day that was solely theirs. It was truly a blessing 🙂
The reception was amazing as well (clearly not as emotionally moving as the ceremony, but equally as fun). At one point the bride and groom were at separate ends of the white tent that provided shade for everyone. The entire group of people all thought of the same thing at once and began ringing the bells on their tables. The bride and groom looked knowingly across the space between them and quickly made that space disappear. Everyone cheered as they kissed.
This wedding was so much fun and, to me, represented a lot of what the majority of society is sort of missing out on: commitment, purity, patience, teamwork, and simplicity. Weddings are even more fun when you’re really close with the people getting married 🙂
After the bride and groom had shoved cake in each others’ faces (just kidding; they were actually quite tender and clean about it) me and my family left for home. Once we arrived home, mom, Stephen, and I all changed and headed out to my grandmother’s house. Before I had even gotten home, my grandmother had let me know over our phone calls that she wanted to see me before I left again…and, honestly, I didn’t want to come home and leave without seeing her too.
It was a total God thing, because when we arrived at my grandmother’s house, my aunt and uncle were there celebrating my aunt Kelly’s birthday with my grandparents and a few other relatives. We were able to give aunt Kelly her present and talk to everyone. Again, I was surprised to see how much I have been missed.
After the party, we headed to Wal Mart (I know, I know, how country of me: I’ve spent a month in the city and the first thing I do when I get home is go to Wal Mart). Mom wanted to buy my father’s birthday presents and cake and I had to buy food and shoes anyway. I took Stephen shoe shopping with me while my mother had some time to herself.
Stephen was kind and treated us to dinner on the way home. It felt good to be merry with my family again.
But when we got home and my father came home from working all day, things sort of took a toll on me. My mother was planning on celebrating my father’s birthday tomorrow morning before I had to leave, but he came home early today so she decided to have it the moment he came home.
When we all sat down around the table to bring in the candlelit cake and the presents, I stole a few glances at my father: he was exhausted, and this crushed me.
I won’t continue on with the evening, though we all had a few good laughs, ate yummy cake at our third party of the day, and were able to depart in goodness. It was that look in my father’s eyes that made me realize how much responsibility both of my parents have.
Being a college student brings a lot of responsibility: you have to get yourself to classes on time, have a budget, buy the right books, check your own mail, buy your own food, do your own laundry, get yourself home and back, so on and so forth. It’s a lot compared to what one experiences in high-school. But these responsibilities, I think, are nothing compared to what good parents do for their kids.
My father and mother work hard for everything we have. They often sacrifice time for resting to accommodate our needs and our desires. I can’t count the number of times they have bought me something when they could’ve bought something special for themselves. When I left for college I gave my parents money to go on a date, and they had a REAL date for the first time in what seems like forever. Between Stephen, Grace, Jimmy, and I, they rarely have time for themselves.
God has really blessed me with my parents. Even though I may not always agree with their decisions, they deserve my respect regardless, especially when considering what they have done for me. They support me through all of my ups and downs, all of my despairs and my ecstasies, all of my times of dating and of singleness, all of my times of stress and of relief….besides God they have done the most to show me that they love me.
I realize that I don’t know everyone’s familial situation, but I am going to be ignorant and say that parents are awesome, no matter how old you may be. God often explains His love for us by using parental love as an example. In Galatians chapter four verses four through seven, it tells us, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, then an heir through God.” (ESV)
God gave the greatest sacrifice for us, His adopted children. Parents, in a blurred image of the Lord God, sacrifice for their kids.
I love you, Mom and Dad. I don’t know what I would do without you.