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In which I catch a glimpse of heaven

We drove through the mountains in the snow, holding hands over the gear shift. It was an iron-grey day, a cold swirl of a day, and as we crossed the river coming down from the north, a bald eagle swooped down and low right beside our car. As we reached the other side, the eagle lowered one wing, and arched away, benediction rising. We drove to the base of the mountains, past a herd of bison to the log-stacked lodge. Each sentinel pine on the mountain weighed with snow, slender and distinct, there was just a hint of pink to the sky.

There were pine cones and simple jar candles lining the aisle, holly boughs with crimson berries and burlap laid out, paper hearts hanging from bare branches. At the altar the words “Rise to a better story” prophesy in the blue snow light.

It was a gathering of nations there in the snow. First bridesmaids in cream and gold saris, then Tina appeared in her bridal scarlet and emerald and gold sari, jewels through the part of her hair resting on her forehead. Kupa and his friends, his brothers, from Zambia, from America, from Hong Kong, stood at the front, and Kupa’s eyes were not satisfied with seeing, it’s a good idea to watch the groom’s face for that moment when his bride appears, that look will make you believe in love all over again.

We sang praises to God, we cried, we clapped, we fell more in love, each of us, remembering our own wedding days. When the pastor charged them to be faithful and true, love and honour, and they vowed until death do us part, husbands and wives were catching eyes and smiling. Kupa and Tina got down on their knees and washed each other’s parents bare feet with their own hands, speaking blessing and honour and gratitude to their new mama and papa each. South-Indian Christian traditions enriched the traditional English Christian ceremony: sari draped by Kupa, gold cross tied, seven strands woven, and their vows.

When they were pronounced husband and wife, we nearly lifted the roof off with our cheers. India through Dubai to Canada, Zambia through America, and they found each other, and now we’re all here, drinking wine, and laughing, eating, and celebrating with tears in our eyes, every voice a unique accent of its own.

We all agree that this is what the world should look like – a wedding supper, a global family, saris and dashikis, head coverings and hipsters, good food, thumping music, dancing, tears, and the kind of love that works and breathes and shows up.

These are the sacred moments. And the community gathered to say we see you, we affirm you, we’re with you, and may God give you lots of babies, too. Here we all are in the Canadian west, a big crazy family usually scattered across the earth. The dirt on our shoes was from nearly every continent, but we are family by birth and blood and choice tonight.

We were stomping our feet and whistling loud, kissing and hollering out for more kisses, and then we were also sneaking outside to lean over the railings, men draping coats over women while our breath formed in the darkness, all to watch the moon rise in at Christmas.

Driving home, we agreed, yawning, feet aching, yes, right there, that may have been a glimpse of heaven.

 

abundant life, friends, journey, love, marriage, moments

10 Responses to In which I catch a glimpse of heaven

  1. pastordt December 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Again. . .with the tear-making!! How truly lovely. Been watching from a distance as this day drew nigh and am so glad you could be there to celebrate and savor, to encourage and enjoy. Has she written about their story anywhere? She and I are newish FB friends and I’ve read her at SheLoves, but don’t know about her own blog, I don’t think. I’ll do a little lookin’.

    • Sarah Bessey December 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      She doesn’t have her own blog, Diana (sadly), but writes now and then for SheLoves for the TGIF feature. You’d love her, I know.

  2. Anita Mathias December 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Wow, your post is as poetic as this meeting of diverse (and historically antipathetic) continents! What brave and lovely people!

  3. rayhollenbach December 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, weddings can become an invitation to enter into the Master’s joy. Thanks for your lush descriptions of such sacred moments.

    And forgive me the vanity of quoting myself, but I too, have seen glimpses of heaven at weddings: Here’s one example: http://lauraoutoftheblue.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/the-end-of-the-world-as-you-know-it/

    Merry Christmas, Grace and peace!

  4. Tara Porter-Livesay December 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    beautiful!

  5. Mercie Angela December 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    WOW… Amazing!

  6. anastasia @ eco-babyz December 24, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    That does sound heavenly and beautiful, especially the way you describe!

  7. sarah December 26, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Yes, yes, the Kingdom of Heaven looks like a wedding celebration. And it will be a jumbled-up family, lots of different traditions and colors and journeys, but everyone there to celebrate the same King and the same Bridegroom. Amen.

  8. HopefulLeigh December 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    So glad you shared this happy glimpse of Tina’s wedding!

  9. Gretchen December 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Beautifully written!

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