The road to Heaven

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Attended a long time friend’s wedding this weekend. It was truly a wonderful day. The ceremony was at a Catholic church where the bride teaches elementary school. In addition to all the friends and family, there were lots of her current and former students. The altar boys were in fact altar girls who were also former students.

The church happens to be the same one my parents got married in some four decades ago so it held some extra fascination for me. I sat on the groom’s side as my family and I have known him back to elementary school days. One of my brothers was the best man. I teared up watching my brother, the groom, and the other guys standing up for him tear up. This was the last of them to get married. The rest had all done so quite young about twenty years ago.

Not only was I enthralled with the wedding itself, but with the building and the art work in it. I was baptized in the Catholic Church as an infant but my family left just before my First Communion.  I was raised in evangelical land and while I embrace the tenants, must admit my camp has produced some questionable stuff in the name of art.  In particular, a large wall hanging in the back, and the mosaics for the stations of the cross caught my eye.

But, there was more than what meets the eye in the service. The message the priest delivered was heart-felt and wonderful – and yes, scripturally sound as well. In addition to some of the more traditional fare, he told a story. He related that his father died when he was twelve years old. His mother would come home after work and unwind by working in the garden.He would go out with her but was not permitted to pull weeds as he had not acquired the ability to discern between weeds and regular garden plants.

When he was in high school he began to ask a lot more about how his parents met and what their relationship was like. On one occasion as they chatted his mother admitted she had been engaged to another man before she met his father.

“Why didn’t you marry him? Why did you end up marrying dad?”

“Well… I married the man I knew would lead me on the path to heaven.”

He never forgot that answer. How important it is to pick a spouse who would lead one in the way of the Lord and what is good and righteous.

I can not remember the precise wording of his mother’s answer but got it quite close. I sat there soaking that in and smiling. Having always wanted to be married and have five little boys (girls are okay too!), there have been times when going to weddings has been quite difficult. Now sitting watching one of the last of us dinosaurs of singleness standing with happy tears in his eyes and a genuine smile on his face holding the hands of his long-awaited bride, I felt great peace and joy. And what the priest had to say, made it even more so. I am still waiting on the man who will lead me on the path to heaven. Not in the negative stereotypical way of lording it over a person, but leading in a Christ-like manner.

A wonderful wedding was followed by a fun reception. Bride and groom have been season ticket holders and great Angels fans. So, they had the reception at the Diamond Club at Angel Stadium. I am not a pro-sports fan but have to admit, it was a great venue. Fun, beautiful and first class. And catching up with everyone who came back to So Cal for the occasion made it all the more fun.

Silly me. Was having so much fun visiting out on the terrace I totally missed the bouquet toss. Oh well. Still waiting for the one I caught in 1999 to work its magic.

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