Two hours before the wedding my crying is muted by the shower I’m in. I’m a mess.
It feels like two core emotions are woven together. There is gladness/joy.
My daughter is marrying our close friend’s son, a young man I know, love, respect and admire (my gosh we’ve vacationed, and shared inumerable “family-fun-nights” for years!).
And there is some other surging sentiment that could easily and too quickly be labeled grief/sorrow/loss. And so as the warm water begins to wane I’m processing these internal dynamics… and this is where words elude me. It feels like grief/sorrow but it isn’t really. The wedding is formalizing a very real change…a transition from my being the alpha male to whom Meagan looks for strength, protection, shelter, guidance and help to now being a beta male… I’m still her father but she’s now under his covering wing (do gorillas have wings?).
I find myself asking God about this raw emotion... and not surprising... he shows up… in the shower and begins to speak in a wonderful way…
Yes, there is something to grieve, a transition, a change, a shift to note and feel… but much, most of what I’m feeling is desire. Longing. A yearning for more of this. “This” being the joy and celebration of two close families becoming family. “This” being the intimacy we have and share, the passion, life, love, covenant, commitment, the communion of friends and close ones… the extreme happiness of all that awaits my daughter and Jared. It’s the beauty of the location, the friendships, good music, palm trees and huge deep pool, the smell of the flowers, God’s presence in all of it… it’s food, seeing all these kids who grew up with ours and are now healthy functioning adults, it’s about parenting well and celebrating, it’s about a beautiful wife… playful granddaughters, being in shorts and flip flops… it’s about a life I was meant to enjoy but only get tastes of here and there.
Joy and yearning woven together in a now cold shower.
And so… I'm about to walk her down the aisle.
I'm standing at the head of the aisle holding her hand. She's shaking; she adjusts her arm in my hand, “Dad, can you believe this is happening?” Behind her veil, her eyes moist, look to me… and I see her at three when frightened, I see her at six taking her to school for the first time, I see her on the couch cuddling with me during a scary scene in a movie, we're back at South High at the crowning of the Prom Queen… she's 18 looking into my eyes as she leaves for an adventurous year of school in Europe alone… she's a woman forever my daughter. She looking strongly for strength, she's telling me she loves me and always will, she's saying thank you, she's laughing, crying, joyful, she's holding tight and I want time to freeze.
The aisle should have never ended, and yet it did… as it should.