It is nearly midnight.  We (Certain Man and Certain Man’s Wife and Eldest Daughter) just got home from a wedding in Pennsylvania.  Tanya Martin married Justin Gehman in an exquisitely beautiful garden in an afternoon ceremony.  When Tanya was born, 22 years ago in Ohio, our family babysat her while her Mommy (Bev) went off to work so that her Daddy (Dean) could go to DeVry Institute of Technology.  Tanya was a beautiful baby, she grew into a lovely girl and today was a stunning bride.  She married a fine young man, and both of them are serious about serving Jesus…  The joy of this day was marred only by the sadness that comes from having parents who no longer live together.  A bitter, angry father slipped into the back of the garden after the ceremony started and slipped out again before it was over.  It has been his choices that have turned his daughter’s heart away from him, but it is still so sad. 

“Will she ever forgive him?” I ask my friend, Bev.  We are standing in the late afternoon light, Bev elegant in her cream-colored gown with a chocolate trimmed bolero setting off her gorgeous hair and skin.  Her eyes are sad.  “I don’t know.  I only know that it was his choice…and that is how it will have to be.  I had hoped today would be different,  but …”  Her voice trailed off.  It is one of the things that I love about Bev. In the last ten years, there has been precious little to hope about, but she just cannot quite stop hoping that someday something will change,  It gives her a softness, a childlike quality to makes me want to protect her — to make her dreams come true.  I do not think I could bear to hope.  I am quite certain that I would never handle life with the grace and courage she has. 

Tonight, I thank God for an earthly father who exampled  before me what a Heavenly Father is like.  I’m so thankful for each day that God allows him to enjoy.  I really do feel like we all still need him so much.  I thank God for the Daddy of my children.  For the protection and love that he has given to our children.  For his love for me, and for the many times he forgives me and draws me back into right thinking.  For his steady hand and heart, for his unselfish, sacrificial love for us all.  Neither of these men are perfect.  I would never claim they are.  But especially in the face of their humanity flies the evidence of God’s incredible grace and their appropriation of it.

Marriage.  Parenting.  LIFE.  This has certainly been a day of contemplation.

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