Running errands with Christie and Darren and whenever it got stressful Darren lightening it up with some silliness. A rehearsal where surprisingly everyone listened and a dinner with my new family. When it was all done sitting around my parent's dining room table telling stories from the day. Sleeping in my own bed in my old room.
Since the rehearsal was on a Thursday and I was sick as a dog I stayed at my parents again on Friday. Christie and I spent the morning together went to lunch. It was quality time with my little sister before her big day - what a special memory.
Setting up the hall, jamming with my future brother-in-law and his twin brother on the drums. Nothing like a rehearsal with such talent! Dinner with just my sister and my parents. Late night shopping with Mom, just like old times! And then her and I made a Holy Hour for my sister and Darren. It was one of the best hours Lord that I've had with you in a long time. Laughing with Christie and her Matron of honor on the Eve of her wedding.
Waking up at my parents house the morning of my sister's wedding. Hearing her and her childhood friends laughing, giggling and presumably lots and lots of hairspray or fake-tan or both. Seeing my nieces dressed in white as the flower girls. Getting to the Church early to pray and prepare. Seeing Darren praying by himself in the Sacristy moments before the mass. Walking my mother down the aisle... that's a first! Seeing my sister and Darren step up to the altar and getting to be the priest that married them... hopefully helping it to be a wonderful, joyful, prayerful, and peaceful celebration. Consecrating the Eucharist and realizing what a great privilege it is to transform these gifts of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Realizing that Christie and Darren's love would now become a Sacrament - a sign to the world of God's presence in our lives. My Godmother as the Eucharistic Minister. Watching the bride and groom walk down the aisle to such a beautiful song.
Riding in the limo bus with my five siblings, nieces, and friends. My Goddaughter saying "Uncle Mike... you can sit next to me." Watching as people at the art museum stopped and watched this huge bridal party and beautiful bride and groom. There is still something so special about a bride in her dress that is completely mesmerizing to people. Crowds gathered to watch wherever pictures were taken. One old man even stopped them to ask if he could take a picture of them. God's sacramental presence going out to all the world... so awesome!
The reception from beginning to end. Singing the Father-Daughter song with the groom picking the guitar, Bobby on Rhythm, Dan on the Drums, Down Town Julie Brown on the Keys and my mother singing too. Flash Dance with the bridal party. Dancing through three, yes count them, three shirts! Watching the slide show and hearing the laughter and love as people saw their pictures from years ago. Some absolutely beautiful toasts. And my favorite moment of all... the last dance. Holding my youngest niece "my little nugget" and watching this circle of love surrounding Christie and Darren as the held each other for the very last dance of their wedding day. There was something about it, maybe it was the way they held each other still as if they wanted the night to last forever. A miracle happened... her brother who never cries.... eyes moistened and one precious tear dropped down my left cheek. My sister is the Bride.
So I write this at the end of the night with a truly grateful heart. I was privileged to be the chauffeur and drive them to their home, watch as a man that I have come to love and trust carried my sister through the threshold... her blue shoes popping out of her white dress, a giant smile on her face, so full of joy so blessed by God. What an honor and a privilege.
And this is what it is like to be a priest.... "to have a front row seat in the theater of God's grace."
Thank you God... "This is the day The Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!"