When I woke up at 3:58 in the morning last Saturday, I knew there was no way I was getting back to sleep. I was confident of this unfortunate reality not only because the nervous energy resulting from the realization that I’d be getting married in just over 12 hours had already started coursing through my body but also because I couldn’t stop watching the periodic lighting strikes which, though a long way away, were already lighting up the early morning darkness.
Our ceremony took place in a ravine (aka “the clearing”) at the far end of my parents’ farm. Sarah chose that place not only for the natural beauty but also because it was there, on the back of a four-wheeler, that I first told Sarah I loved her. As we watched the photographer posing Sarah on a bridge over ravine’s creek, my sister turned to me and stated, “she looks like a fairy and I mean that in a good way.” It was at that moment that Sarah’s “vision” (as she kept referring to it) for our wedding ceremony finally made sense in my mind. The arch, decorations, dress and even the wreath crown she was wearing all worked in unison to create a fairy-tale like aura to our ceremony. The vision came together despite the fact that just a few hours earlier, we were quite concerned it was never going to happen.
In order to get back to “the clearing”, one must drive across a freshly plowed field. After just a bit of rain, this field becomes impassable to anything heavier than a four-wheeler. Eventually, the lightning which I had been watching at four in the morning brought along a downpour lasting almost an hour. At 6:07 AM, my dad declared “the clearing” dead. It appeared we’d be relocating the ceremony to the back-up spot, a shaded area on the bank of our farm pond. While the back-up spot was an idyllic farm setting, it didn’t quite have the ambiance Sarah was going for. By 6:08 AM, it seemed the only question we had left was whether the four-wheeler would be able to get through the mud and back to “the clearing” so we could pick up the arch frame we’d left there the night before.
As my dad was driving back to “the clearing” to answer that question, he noticed the ground becoming less muddy, even turning to dust, as he drove further from the house and closer to “the clearing”. In a surprising turn of events, “the clearing” had been resuscitated. While we’d received over half an inch of rain at the house, “the clearing” (about a half mile away) had gotten just enough rain to settle the dust, which is the exact amount my dad had been hoping for (despite that “just enough to settle the dust” was usually a derogatory description of a rain shower when used by a famer). As the ceremony began at about 4:45 PM, with the line of cars that had driven through the field parked along the top of the ravine, the weather was a perfect 82 degrees, partly sunny and with a gentle breeze. While that breeze would eventually blow in a near tornado just as we were wrapping up the post-ceremony meal we’d shared back up at the house, at the moment our ceremony began, I was giddy with how we’d managed to pull off the perfect weather for an outdoor wedding.
After a processional consisting of our elder niece carrying our younger niece, our daughter as a flower girl and our oldest son picking up and carrying our youngest son after he couldn’t convince him to walk, Sarah hugged her dad just as the medley playing in the background changed to “Bless the Broken Road.” At that moment, my giddiness was overcome by tears of joy. The real-time image of this beautiful woman, reddish-brown hair falling down onto a stunning white dress while flashing a smile lighting up everything in its sight, walking down the aisle with the intent of becoming my bride was, in my mind, juxtaposed along with the images of the “broken road” that had brought us to this point. For a few minutes, the emotion was a bit too intense to keep inside, so it found an escape route through my tear ducts.
Breakthrough, four years ago this month as well as the therapist sessions before and after that intense month of counseling were, in a large part, focused on helping me acquire what I
In one of those weird twists to a story, two of my best friends who were both supposed to be groomsmen in my first wedding 19 years ago but, for various reasons, were unable to be in attendance, ended up being a part of this wedding celebration. Michael, mentioned above, drove from California to Iowa to officiate the ceremony. While I can’t state how grateful I am that he made it a priority to be a part of the wedding, I’m not quite convinced that his long drive gave him the right to declare “that’s enough” as I was enjoying kissing my new bride. My other friend, Jason, came down from Omaha for the “before they say I do” party Sarah’s parents threw for us back in May. Now that I’ve ensured that all my long-time friends have been able to participate in either my first or second wedding, I’m officially retiring from the wedding business… and continuing my life with one of the most beautiful and intelligent women this world has ever seen.