There are times in life that you’re just grateful to have been in a special place for a special time. When taking part in a celebration far exceeds your wildest expectations.
One of my dearest friends, Penny, married the man of her dreams.
What makes this such a remarkable experience is Penny has waited for so long to be married. Into her 50’s. Waiting faithfully, waiting patiently.
And she met and fell in love with a widower. With eight children.
Joe is one of my new favorite people. He’s a man of great character. A sweet sense of humor. Honorable and full of integrity.
And he dearly loves my friend. His new wife.
I couldn’t have come up with a better match for her if I’d tried.
Joe’s first wife, Mary, died about five years ago of cancer. A tough time for the whole family. She was their glue. Their cheerleader. In a wonderfully tight-knit family, her loss was massive.
There’s been mourning, grief and loss. Someone who is so well-loved is never totally gone from the lives of those who loved her.
But I’ve observed this about marriages that I’ve admired and respected. If a couple enjoys marriage, being together, sharing their lives intimately with one another, when one is gone, the most natural thing to do is to eventually find another spouse to share that special life.
It’s actually a legacy from the first spouse. Mary’s gift to Joe was to love him well. To enjoy being his wife, his partner, his best friend, his lover.
It’s a gift Mary is now giving Penny.
John and I were honored to have a part in this wedding. With both of her parents gone, she asked us to walk her down the aisle.
That was a gift.
The pastor shared great insights with Penny and Joe. He explained that Abraham, the man that three world religions–Jewish, Christian and Muslim–see as the father of their faith, married after his beloved Sarah died. He married a woman named Keturah. In doing this, Abraham didn’t stay stuck in his mourning. He moved on.
Something he saw Joe doing in his choice of taking a new wife.
To Penny, he said that she was finding her new place. Not taking the place of Joe’s first wife, but beginning a new season with him. Moving on with him.
Celebrating. New beginnings. It came at a cost, but there is reason to rejoice.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven….A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3b-4
Watching Penny and Joe dance at their wedding was the picture of a gift given and accepted. Time to rejoice.
God has blended this family in a way that will bless many for years to come.
Life from loss.
And isn’t that the greatest gift?
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