Lord willing, when you read this, I will be in Oklahoma for the wedding of my nephew, Ben Hawley, and his bride to be, Courtney. Ben's brother, Zach, is officiating, and incorporating, as I do, the vows my grandfather, Harold Hawley, wrote for my folkswedding. The following, from October 22, 2006, is about how my parents became engaged.
There was a message waiting when I opened my e-mail this morning. It was from Judy Miller, a friend of my parents from college days. Judy was checking on my mother and the progression of her Alzheimer's. Few have done more in the kingdom of heaven than Judy Miller and her dearly departed husband, Jule. Through writing, speaking, and production of filmstrips, this Christian couple taught thousands about Jesus and the life he wishes we would live. Additionally, the Millers were the proud parents of numerous children who similarly dedicated their lives to the telling of the gospel around the world. Judy penned some wonderful things about Mom in her note, including "Nelda was my truest example of a genuine Christian woman." Mom would blush if she could still fathom the meaning of Judy's compliment. I understand and that will have to satisfy me on this side of eternity.
I ate supper tonight with Emily DeWitt. For clarification, I should add that her folks, Sandy and Johnny, were also in attendance, as was Emily's fiancee', soon to be husband, Josh. In what has become a ritual, we dined at IHOP and talked about the glorious event which will transpire in twenty-seven days. On November 18th, it will be my honor to pronounce Emily and Josh husband and wife to a legion of family and friends. That's what the summit was about today. Josh and Emily flew into Houston from New Mexico this weekend for a shower/final preparations and we formalized exactly what they wanted from me in terms of the ceremony. I want to go on record early- Emily will be a stunning bride.
Judy Miller and Emily DeWitt will never meet but there is a connection between the two. In our discussing their vows this evening, Emily and Josh chose to use the vows my grandfather, Harold Hawley, wrote for my parents' wedding on Christmas Day of 1949. I was hoping they would. It gives me even more of a personal stake in the rites and in some small measure keeps my grandpa's legacy alive, even though he died thirty years ago. So, Emily and my mom will share the bond of repeating the same vows, although separated by a scant fifty-six years, three hundred and thirty-eight days. And there might not have been a my mom if it had not been for Judy Miller. My dad had heard that a woman was more likely to accept a marriage proposal if she had just been exposed to a scene of domestic bliss. Being a schemer, Dad arranges for newlyweds Judy and Jule Miller to invite he and his girlfriend, Nelda Chesshir, to supper on the night he popped the question. While escorting Nelda back to her dormitory, Dad made the presentation of a lifetime and the young lady who would become my mother said "yes!" (THANK GOODNESS!) If not for Judy, my mother might have refused the offer- no wedding, no vows, no Steve, and no Steve preaching the wedding on November 18, 2006 of one Emily DeWitt. I know this is a stretch and I know you realize this is tongue-in-cheek but I'm trying to make a point. People we never cross paths with or even hear of can have a profound impact on our lives. Judy, along with Jule, influenced my folks. My Mom and Dad molded my life from the crib. For some reason, I made an impression on an eighth grade girl in my Bible class at Westbury Christian School named Emily who from that time on always wanted me to preach her wedding. The Lord links us without our realizing the dots are being joined. Today, the line connected Judy Miller and Emily DeWitt. It's a shame they've never been introduced. They have so much in common!
Applicable quote of the day:
"I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make my marriage vows mean what they say. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh."
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