As the music swells and the doors at the back of Stone Chapel open, you just know that for some weddings you should have worn water-proof mascara. Yesterday was Sarah’s wedding.
From concerts to football games, our families seem to have navigated the teenage years together. Between our families, we managed to have 7 consecutive years of kids in school. Kris taught them history, and I taught them English. With shared activities and our daughters’ close friendships, we’ve spent a lot of time together—their family and ours. Even beyond high school, our children’s chosen paths are uncannily similar: We have a son in the military; they have a son in the military. They have a son in ministry; we have a son in ministry. Our youngest daughters remain dear friends.
But, our Joy and their Sarah are both firstborns—and both dreamed of marriage and motherhood. Both watched each of their younger siblings marry and become parents as they waited…and they waited. They waited a seemingly very long time. And often they lifted each other up.
Scripture instructs us to share in each other’s sorrow and each other’s joy.
It’s hard to share joy as you watch others experience what you so desperately desire. It isn’t that you want any less for them—but, oh, the ache—the longing. The wondering “Why?” The wondering “What’s wrong with me?”
But yesterday—yesterday, we stood in the same chapel where we stood for Joy only a few short years ago, waiting for the music to swell—waiting for those doors at the back to open.
And this time I could hardly stand it as I watched the little bell ringers (Sarah’s nephews) prance down the aisle, bells in hand, shouting, “The bride is coming! The bride is coming!” And I just knew then that I’d made a mistake when I’d chosen my mascara.
We watched as Sarah became single no longer. We ate dinner, and Joy sat across the table in miserable full-term-pregnancy delight as she shared in Sarah’s joy. And I imbibed as an elixir the pleasure of Sarah’s brothers and sister as they celebrated with Sarah. It reminded me of us.
Sometimes it is so easy to share in someone’s joy.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans. 12:15