Nine years ago, my son, dressed in a good suit, was sitting in the back row of a small church in North Carolina during the weekly service. An elderly lady was sitting next to him, and after a while asked him if he was new to church as she had never seen him there before. He explained that he was there to be married in a small ceremony after the weekly service. She was quiet for a moment, and then she said, “I know what you did.”
Brian explained that he and Beth became engaged a few months ago, planning to marry when Beth completed Veterinary School and he completed his sea duty with the United States Coast Guard. But Beth’s student health insurance had expired and could not be renewed, so they were marrying that morning so she would have the Department of Defense health insurance she was entitled to as his spouse.
Now that you know what Brian didn’t do, let me tell you what Katie did!
Later that year, Beth bought a wedding gown in anticipation of the larger wedding in her future. But life took over, and years went by with no wedding to which she could wear her gown. Nine years to be exact. My daughter-in-law told me once her only regret was to not to have pictures of herself in her wedding gown and Brian in his dress white uniform.
Beth’s twin sister started planning her August wedding early this year. Knowing her sister’s desire for these pictures, Katie suggested that Beth bring her wedding gown along with her bridesmaid’s dress. Then after Kate’s wedding, Beth could scoot back to her room, put on her wedding gown, and then have those much desired pictures taken of herself with Brian in his dress white uniform. Kate’s photographer would be right there waiting for her. Beth agreed that would be perfect.
But Katie was not totally honest with her sister. When I received the invitation to Katie’s wedding, there was also a card enclosed with a picture of Brian and Beth. On the back of the card was explained how Beth had never had a chance to wear her wedding gown. Attendees were instructed that after the ceremony we were to remain in our seats. When Beth reappeared in her wedding gown and expecting a photographer, she would be escorted down the aisle to where Brian would be waiting for her, and the couple would renew their vows. Katie had even arranged for the same minister who had married them nine years ago to be present for the day’s ceremonies. When I contacted Katie about my husband and I attending her wedding, she asked that my husband escort Beth down the aisle, as their own father had passed away the previous year.
So this is how it came to be that Beth, in her magnificent wedding gown, floated down the aisle on the arm of my husband into the arms of her husband, in his dress white uniform.
In my grammar class, I teach that abstract nouns are things we cannot see. Love is on the list of abstract nouns. But I saw love that day. I saw the love of Katie and Matt, the man for whom she had been searching, and the love of Beth and Brian renewing vows after nine years of marriage. But the love I saw that day that is to be remembered is the love that a woman had for her sister, a love so profound, that on her own wedding day, she chose to surprise her sister with her dream come true.
That’s what Katie did.