Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Airborne Contemplations

"How do you feel about your little brother getting married?" I was asked that question several times, and the answers I gave while not untrue, per se, never really satisfied me. My opinions kept changing on me. I could never really put my finger on it, and I wasn't quite sure how "in control" I was of the emotional journey.

Spring had been so full after a quiet Winter. Sure, I fell asleep at least once a week writing/editting a toast for my brother, but I think that was more about my nerves than my feelings about his impending life change. Okay, some of that was in there, but not as much as there could have been. Why?

Part of it must have been his bride-to-be, Sister BrightEyes (as she shall henceforth be known here). He was marrying someone I didn't know terribly well, yet I though her delightful, beautiful, godly, and a good match, ultimately. My own thoughts about the timing never went beyond acknowledging that, while they were young, it was very hard to say whether the timing was good from the outside looking in on a relationship. I could only trust them - and that wasn't hard knowing the quality of their minds and hearts and having discussed it with them a little.

I'd come to terms with the many young marrieds that surround me - with the friends and family (and self, for goodness sake) I know who get hitched young. For so many of them it seems to have been a good decision. Life might later prove it was a tougher way to go, but so far it still seems to have yielded good fruit for so many. Why should I think that some of the most mature people I know would be any different?

All of this, however, only answered part of the question. How did I feel about Brother J getting married?

I felt pride in him as a person. He's delightful, responsible, mature, godly, and he's in love with Erin in a way he hasn't been in love with anyone or anything else. He's grown wise throughout his life and even wiser through this relationship. He's ready, as far as I can see.

I also felt joy for him and for Erin. They truly seemed to be happy and display a self-sacrificing delight in each other, too. I worried that struggle, pain, dull daily life, and plain old disillusionment and frustration will rob them of it. Still, Hubster and I have weathered that before and we're still standing together.

As the wedding day drew closer, I started to sense the simmer on the back burner was bubbling up a bit more. My thoughts for the toast progressed from trite platitudes to unoriginal-but-true reflections to a final resting place nearer to pithy and heartfelt, if not totally profound. God gave me inspiration to hold on to some of those ideas I'd already developed and drop others that weren't quite right.

The day dawned a shining testament to the Michigan summer climate, and thank God with the wedding and reception both outside. I saw my brother as I approached the site, and he looked unmistakably like a groom, less because of the tuxedo and more because of the purpose in his smile. He hugged me tight, and I prepared to stand and witness as he'd asked me to. I was surprised at how sisterly I already felt toward Sister BrightEyes. I listened as the pastors discussed and developed some of the ideas I'd rejected for my toast. They did quite well, and I was glad to hear the ideas properly explored.

Then it was upon me - the moment of truth. Soon I was talking, the words flowing out with the aid of my bullet-point notes (keywords in quotation marks - ever the student over here). My hands shook when I had to pick up my notes for the reading of the quotation I'd included, but my voice and my thoughts flowed from my firm purpose and God's unfailing strength granted for that moment.

I looked down as I talked, but Jon and Erin's faces only registered briefly - I had a job to get done and I wanted to do it well. This was no time to process. I could see it was pleasing them and I pressed on. When I finished (my arm shaking a bit as I raised my glass), I sat and turned to my pillar, my own husband for support and approval, in a sense - hoping that what I'd said was worthy of the moment. Only then did I hug the objects of my toast, my brother and new sister, and come down off the adrenaline a bit at a time.

It's taken until now, as I sit on a plane and contemplate those glimpses of their faces, can I truly see my own thoughts in context. That context is the look of love mingled with sadness and something unexpected that crossed Jon's face - admiration, aspiration, maybe just appreciation. And I cannot stop crying. The joy, the recognition of God's great gifts to me in the form of my family, my new sister, and my dear brother are too profound. My body cannot contain all that.

I catch the tears with the same tissues I took down the aisle hidden in my waistband for Erin and maybe for myself.

Strangely apropos.


Mair said...

nice new layout, and very nice post. I'm sure your toast was delight to all. You are always appropriate at those kinds of sentiments.

M of BE (mom of bright eyes) said...

I finally got the link and a chance to read your blog.I will definitely be a repeat visitor. You did a wonderful, classy, beautiful toast! Send me the quote sometime if you get a chance. The day was such a blur, I'd love to read it. I'm so glad BrightEyes has such a great new sister. She was right about your witty writing. Fun!