It was decided.
There would be a wedding.
It would be a beautiful spring wedding in a chapel which once knew the footsteps of Daniel Boone. There would be fresh lavender. Brothers and sisters would join them at the altar. My little man would wear his first tuxedo. A treasured cousin would read 1 Corinthians 13. The steeple bells would be sounded by a lifelong friend. I would fan her train and set her veil just before I took the arm of her soon-to-be brother-in-law and walk down the aisle. The double doors would open to the sunshine, and Daddy would give her away. For months my sister and I shared late night talks and plans and hopes for that day. Dresses. Shoes. Cake. Flowers. Music....
For the ceremony, she chose the love song Steven Curtis Chapman wrote for his own bride, "I Will Be Here". I listened to it for the first time and fell in love. I sang the words over and over again. I still remember the bride and groom exchanging glances. "I will be here... to watch you grow in beauty and tell you all the things you are to me. I will be here."
Tonight I was in the grocery store, looking forward to returning home and hugging a couple of little guys back from a weekend with their daddy and an especially memorable baseball game. I was thinking about these little guys, about my own weekend, about life. I don't know why, but I began to notice their hands as people passed by. Rings now gone. Why were all of these moms... and all of these dads... alone? Why are young people experiencing firsts... alone? Why are older people experiencing lasts... alone? We weren't created for alone. We were created to be partners. Forever partners. "I will be here... when the laughter turns to cryin' through the winning, losing and trying we'll be together. I will be here."
I ached for them. I prayed for them all a partner... that their joy would be doubled... that their burdens would be halved... that their hearts would be whole. I suppose I fell in that prayer somewhere... but I really didn't think about it.
I loaded up the groceries and hopped in the car. In a rare moment, the CD was off and the radio was on and I heard words I hadn't heard in years. "Tomorrow morning if you wake up, and the future is unclear... I will be here." I smiled. I cried. I choked through the words... singing them softly.
Tonight I pulled up the music video for the first time and watched it... "If in the dark, we lose sight of love, hold my hand and have no fear... 'cause I will be here."
And upon the last screen were the words...
"I love you. God"
I love you back.
From a heart of clay,
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13