Friday, December 31, 2010

A Marriage Made In Heaven

I recently wrote a blog that mentioned a bachelor party I had been to a couple of weeks ago. Last night I had the privilege of attending the wedding of that young man we had the party for. It might have been the best wedding I have ever been to.

Now the wedding ceremony and reception afterwards were all very nice. All the wedding party and parents and everybody involved looked really nice. Everything ran smoothly and came off without a hitch. The short sermon as part of the ceremony was very powerful and painted a beautiful picture of the primary purpose of our marriages being a means to bring glory to Yahweh.

My family has known both the bride and groom and their families for several years so it was all very comfortable and relaxed. We had a good time hanging out with friends and just having an enjoyable evening. But none of that is the reason it was the best wedding I have ever been to. It was the events leading up to this marriage that made it special and extraordinary.

From the time this young couple made the first tentative steps toward getting to know each other until the time of their marriage last night an amazing process took place in their lives and the lives of their families that I had never seen work very well before. From the beginning both families made the decision that a marriage is much more than just two people joining together, but it is a bigger picture of two families joining together.

At the reception both fathers took their turn explaining how the process worked from their perspective. It went something like this: 1) young man talks to his father and lets him know he would like his father’s wisdom on qualities he should be looking for in a future spouse. 2) father gives advice and says, “how about this young lady”. 3) young man gives consent to the possibility. 4) father of young man contacts father of young lady to see if there is a mutual interest in the families and the two young people getting to know each other better. 5) father of young lady talks to his daughter and she likes the idea. 6) father of young lady talks to father of young man. 7) families get to know each other. 8) eventually the young man himself talks to father of young lady and asks if they can be betrothed (engaged). 9) Wedding.

Of course the explanation of all of this at the reception took a lot longer and offered us all a lot more insight and detail as to how it all worked throughout the year and a half this was all taking place. For instance, soon after the two families agreed to this arrangement, the young lady and her family moved to South Korea for several months, because Dad had accepted a teaching job there right around the time this all began. So this was a long distance friendship/relationship for much of the time. Both families found the wondrous world of Skype which allowed them to keep in contact with one another even from far away.

Another thing that took place in the process is that everybody agreed that the parents of the young lady would set the ground rules for how this relationship would develop and what it would look like. So one of the conditions the father of the young lady put in place was that the first time his daughter ever kissed a man it would be at her wedding. Even after the young lady’s family moved back from S. Korea the couple held to that requirement and it was a precious thing to see the innocence of that first kiss as the marriage ceremony ended.

Everybody there was blessed to hear this unique story. And I think the families got it right. The process won’t look exactly the same for every family, but this can work for our young people. Both of these young people are adults and yet they allowed their parents to play a major and primary role in how this courtship and betrothal worked out. They trusted the wisdom and insight of their parents. Because of it both families are stronger, closer, and have bonded with each other. Statistics clearly show that if there is family support for two people getting married, the success rate in those marriages skyrockets. This goes beyond support even, to total commitment by two families to do what is best for their children.

Perhaps the overwhelming factor in why this all worked out right is that both the bride and groom and their parents are 100% devoted to serving their Heavenly Father. Once that happens in peoples lives it becomes the primary condition in what someone looks for in a spouse, because ultimately it will be the only thing that determines the success of that marriage.

So anyway, looking at this in retrospect and having gotten some perspective of this as it was happening over the past months, I can say I’m blessed by the whole thing. It converted my thinking from, “that’s a nice ideal, but can it actually work among believing families”, to, “this is a superior way to do things-this is a scriptural way to do things, and it will work.” I think I have my wife and children on board with the concept so we’ll see where life takes us from here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Circle, Circle, Circle

They circle, circle, circle
Perhaps the best of friends
A smile here, a laugh there
With nowhere else to go

They dance around in circles
Wondering ‘bout the next
Maybe heaven’s intervention
Or a simply spoken truth

Written words are freedom
When the poets do a dance
But spoken words bring victory
And give the next a chance

Monday, December 20, 2010

Make the Most of Every Moment

The other night I was sitting in my living room watching a hockey game with my son and it got me thinking about a lot of things. I clearly remember the first time my son watched a hockey game with me. He was about 3 months old and I had him propped up next to me on the couch introducing him to a sport I grew up watching and playing. He seemed fascinated by the action on the tv screen. It was probably the bright light and noisy action that caught his attention, but he was hooked from that time forward. My son turned 21 a couple of days ago. A lot of life has passed since that first hockey game we watched together when he wasn’t even old enough to sit up by himself.

In those intervening years we got to spend a lot of time together playing sports, especially when he was younger, sometimes me coaching teams he played on, other times just hanging out in the yard throwing around a baseball, or playing a pickup game of floor hockey with friends. As he grew up his interests shifted away from sports a little bit to music and writing and reading (he learned how to read very early in his life and it’s still a passion). As he matured into his teen years he didn’t go through the typical rebellious stage that so many kids go through. Instead he turned his focus to his Heavenly Father. So now while we still sit and watch an occasional hockey game together, much of that time we used to spend on sports and just hanging out has been replaced with discussions about more significant things in life.

So last night we went to a “bachelor” party together. Now I’m well past the age where I have friends getting married on a regular basis, but every once in a while I get invited to one of these things. Now in the circles I hang out in, a bachelor party consists of going to a restaurant with a bunch of guys and eating some food and hanging out and talking, or maybe doing something more adventurous like playing paintball or shooting a few games of pool. But the point is my son has grown up. We don’t do kid stuff together anymore (well not too much anyway).

Instead we interact as two adults. We’re well past the point where my ideas are more significant or carry more weight than his do. Three years behind him toward his college degree I know my son has learned things I will never know. We have many discussions about our beliefs and the importance it plays in our lives, knowing it forms who each of us is. Going to a bachelor party naturally gets us talking about friendships and relationships. It gets us talking about marriage and the type of young lady he wants to marry some day-someone who is just as devoted to his Heavenly Father as he is. Someone who will walk by his side in service to the Kingdom.

So my son has grown into a man- a true man of Yahweh. The transitions from childhood, through the teen years, and now into his adult life have been pretty smooth ones between us. As in any life, in any family, there are always a few growing pains and lessons to be learned as we and our children grow together. That’s part of the refining we all go through.

I guess the real point of what I’m writing here though is that life is a continuous time of growing and maturing. Make the most of every moment. 21 years ago, with my baby boy sitting beside me watching a hockey game on tv, I couldn’t have imagined sitting here writing this blog today. :)

To see the kind of stuff he likes to write about check out his blog- Crauhnice.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Light of Faith

Standing on the pinnacle alone and afraid
Nowhere to go but down
Detained by winter’s frigid, gnarled hands
Faith retreats as night asserts its influence

The decree is to give in, to be one of them
Faithfulness the expense of the fray
Despair has taken the high ground
Desolation will fight for his space

The husbandman prunes with purposeful intent
The vine weeps in anguish as branches
Join the burning bramble
Others are cut back to fortify the vine

The vine must grow at any cost
Even the demise of the vine is not too great a price
The vinedresser’s hands restore with gentle ease
Reviving faith in the midst of despondency and malice

Daylight’s brightness a harsh reminder of nighttime’s place
Nighttime withers under the brilliant light
Darkness a slave to the light, bowing to the master
Reconciliation the goal since inception

Standing on the pinnacle embraced by the day
Stable, steady, unyielding
Supported by firm, gentle hands
Faith affirms as the night hides away

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Deactivation

It started as a small joke almost two years ago. My wonderful wife had been persuaded by her cousin to join the ranks of the Facebook community. She signed up to keep in touch with a few friends and relatives who live in distant places. Now, I had absolutely no desire to join Facebook, but I do like to make my wife smile so I opened up an account and asked my wife to be my only FB friend.

Lo and behold, she refused! Not only that, she wrote me an e-mail letting me know I had to prove myself worthy to be her FB friend. We had fun with that for about a week, until one day my sister invited me to be her friend. I informed my wife I now had a friend on FB and didn’t need her to be my friend anymore. :D

Ok, so we had a lot of fun with that, made each other laugh and moved on. But before I could close down my account I was getting several friend requests...and starting saying yes. So getting to my point, I enjoyed reconnecting with a whole bunch of people over the last 20 months that popped back up in my world. Some that I lost touch with many years ago.

The other side of that of course is watching people use Facebook as a place for gossip and all other kinds of rude behavior that I probably would never see of them in “real” life. More than that though is the time consumer it can become. I need to make place in my life for other things that are more important to me than Facebook. So after threatening to do it for a few months I finally pulled the plug on my FB account yesterday. I looked at the left of my wall and saw 144 friends. I thought that was a good number to end things with.

The interesting thing about Facebook is that you can never actually delete your account. You can only deactivate. So to everyone that was a friend it removes all comments, pictures, and every other interaction you have ever had with them. You are gone. But all it takes to reactivate the account is to sign back in with your user name and password and voila, you are reconnected like nothing ever happened. I guess it’s just the way of our world. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Has Arrived

the shed

the road

out and about

nearby field