Normally at weddings, I have some roll other than a guest, and most of the time, it’s as a musician. When Kelly and Earle’s wedding was being planned, I was in the throes of multiple hospitalizations for Phil, and I had no idea what life would be like by the time May 11 rolled around. Certainly a little part of me wanted to contribute to their special day, but the larger part of me was pretty happy to just be a guest with no worries about performing.
May 11 is a special day for Phil and me, too, because 18 years ago yesterday, we met in person for the first time at the MPLS airport. He flew in to meet me and spend the weekend instead of attending his graduation. I chose to forgo my June graduation ceremony the next year for our Pre-Cana as wedding classes are known in the Catholic church.
Our attendance at yesterday’s ceremony started out rough and got smoother. Our Metro Mobility ride was so late that we came in the church doors right as the wedding party was ready to walk in the sanctuary. Then the people seating us didn’t realize Phil and I were spouses and at first put us in separate pews. They realized their mistake and brought me to him, and I felt so conspicuous! I hoped I wasn’t ruining Kelly’s big moment because of their mistake. I wanted to be invisible as I sat down in the seat next to Phil to read the braille program. People must have been standing before we entered the sanctuary or soon after. I realized Earle sang a song to Kelly as she came down the aisle only after reading it in the program, and of course everyone else was standing. Boy, did I feel like a dope!
I checked into 4-Square to get rid of some of the fidgetiness which came from my embarrassment and was tuned in for the most important parts of the ceremony. Because we use speech on our iPhones, along with the pretty inconspicuous ear buds (the ones I lost last weekend), we have a nice privacy curtain producing a blank screen, so no one has to know we’re using our iPhones at all.
Phil and I lost each other in the receiving line. Garron led Phil a few people ahead in line, because it wasn’t entirely clear where it began. I was really impressed with how the buffet was handled. There were several people behind the table serving up individual things and asking what kind of chicken did we want, dark or white meat? Did we want mac and cheese? Potato salad? Coleslaw? White or wheat roll? and did we want fruit? Other people were there to carry our plates and help us find seats if we wanted them to. Because of the number of people, the gym and the fellowship hall were used for the feast, and there were plenty of people to help with punch, water, coffee, and cake. A lot of the Twin Cities blind community was there yesterday — particularly those of us who used guide dogs, and it was clear that a lot of thought was put into offering help while maintaining our dignity. I was reunited with my husband in the fellowship hall after going through the line. I met up with several people — both in line and at our table — whom I hadn’t seen for years. A couple of them were kids when I last spoke to them, and were very much young adults yesterday! We grabbed a metro ride which was on time to take me to church to play 5:30 Mass, and Phil rode home from there on the city bus.
When I was a little girl, I tried to collect napkins from each wedding I attended. That didn’t last very long though, so now I try to remember something which stood out for me about the wedding. Everyone says our distinct moment was the blessing of the dogs. Those into music remember me singing with my sisters. One of the pastors officiating at the wedding yesterday is a very good friend of mine, and I complimented her on the blessing of the hands. When we attend weddings together, I often reach over and hold Phil’s hand at some point in the ceremony. Because of his recent hand issues, I didn’t do that yesterday, and I have to say I missed it. Fortunately, the blessing was written in my program, so I can copy it for all of you. If all of it doesn’t make it in the e-mail version, I’ll send another entry with just this part below.
Blessing of the Hands
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. These are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch. And lastly, these are the hands which will together reach out in prayer, supplication, and praise to our mighty Lord. In return these hands will feel the strength of Jesus’ hands as you three journey together.