Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It had all the ingredients of a recipe gone awry... and yet, like so many movie-perfect success stories, it also had the one element that would make it rise above and beyond: hope.

A niece's outdoor wedding planned six months in advance for late August in northern North Dakota. That, in itself, can be the kiss of death for any wedding. Add to it that the extended forecast the week prior to the wedding was intermittent and isolated thundershowers. Add to it that it rained three-quarters of an inch of rain the day prior to the wedding and then turned hot and humid. The kiss of death abounded...

And yet, the morning sun broke on clear and breezy skies; skies and winds that would continue throughout the day. And the day concluded as of the most perfect late summer North Dakota days I have seen in a very long time.

The only downside of the entire day was not being able to be present to the moments leading up and into the wedding ceremony itself. For while my wife Di and Leo stayed with the wedding party, I was assigned the responsibility of taking our triplets (Emily, Hannah and Nicholas) back to the hotel for their afternoon nap. The upside of the entire day was being able to do the very same thing. And here's why...

Rachel and Jim Farnsworth


Christine and Eric Uggerud

Secretly, my friend, between you and I, I truly enjoy attending wedding ceremonies. In fact, there have been no weddings that I've attended in the last ten years over which I haven't gotten misty-eyed. My niece Christine married her soulmate Eric in May and I got teary-eyed... although no one knew. And my niece Rachel married her soulmate Jim this past weekend and I showed up - with triplets in tow - in time to see them exchange vows... and I choked back the tears, to the knowledge of no one.

You see, my friend, weddings are simply a starting point, but the pivotal point. They are the firing of the race gun, the origin point on a topographical map, the signaling of a new life. The very journey begins at this one point. Everything beyond this one point is the grand adventure. Long walks and discussions, long talks and disagreements, love-making and making-up, dreaming and scheming, thriving and surviving. It all begins, but is anchored to, this one point. As a present parent of four children and spouse of the greatest partner, I truly know where this beginning, this anchor point, can ultimately lead. And because of this, my disappointment of missing some this weekend's wedding ceremony was replaced with excitement of what lies ahead for this young couple.

When my wife Di agreed to be my wife throughout this life on that cold wintery wedding day in late December of 1995, I thought - and still believe each day - myself to be the luckiest man in this entire world. With each day that passes, that belief is reinforced. With each child we birth, that belief is advanced. With each touch and laugh and glance, that belief is ignited. It is this excitement that I bring to each wedding ceremony. For the new couple to be only 1/10 blessed as I have been and am, they are most fortunate. For all new couples entering into matrimony, I wish them the same blessings that have been bestowed on me.

Amidst the potential rain clouds, Rachel's and Jim's wedding this past weekend emerged a glorious beginning on a grand adventure. Most assuredly, it will be grand adventure - like all marriages - that will be riddled with rain clouds, downpours and thundershowers... but it will be the clear and breezy skies that will prevail in those relationships who simply hope. Hope for all that is good. Hope for all that is noble. Hope for all that is loving. Hope for all that is patient and kind. It is in these hopes that the most loving marriage will emerge. It is these hopes that my wife Di has espoused and to whom I am eternally grateful.

Just this past March I joined my family on a vacation to Disneyworld. While there, we attended a Magic Kingdom fireworks show that premiered the soundtrack Wishes. Within that soundtrack, the refrain was as follows:

Wishes; dream a dream,
Wishes; set it free,
Wishes; trust your heart,
Just believe...

To Rachel and Jim and to Christine and Eric, I wish you this very wish. Dream a dream! See your marriage and love as a dream - dream it and set it free for you to share with one another. And finally, trust your heart and believe in that love. It will - as it has for Di and I - survive all rain clouds and showers on the horizon.

hoedl's haven
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