Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Toast

"First let me just get one thing out of the way." All tuxedo and broad shoulders, father of the groom, balances microphone and notes. He slices the air with his hand, "The thing we're the most proud of with Peter and Rosie," he says, "is that they have relentlessly kept themselves pure until their wedding day." He pauses. "In this world, that's remarkable." Father of the groom gazes at each of us, smiles, eyes earnest. "And so what I'm saying," he sweeps the air, "in case you had any doubt, they have saved themselves for this day."

We laugh; we can't help it. Smiles pull and curl at the corner of our mouths as if drawn up by a relentless spring. Our cheeks round and red, we wait, glasses poised to toast. Bride and groom smile long and wide, wider than all. She sways her shoulders as if the day had rhythm all its own. For just a moment it does; her elbow touches his. They smile and beam and hold the crowd as if the sky itself were open, heavy with blessing. I notice how she leans her shoulder light on his chest and waits.

"I mean think about it," father of the groom continues, "how often does that happen?" He spreads his arms, "We'll just let that sink in for a minute." And it does, a marvel to behold. "You won't regret that," he says. "You'll never regret that the rest of your life." And we toast.

And we dance and dance and watch. We can't take our eyes off them. They capture us, joy irrepressible. We sneak peaks out of the corner of our eyes, try not to stare. While I caper and twirl, promenade and cavort, in heels and barefoot, I sneak closer and closer just to watch, to watch them unfurl the day.

923. Peter and Rosie married -- the promise, the purity, the joy, pure joy.

924. A new sister for me!

925. The sea of family who travel from near and far to celebrate with us and witness with us the birth of a new family.

926. How when I watch Pete and Rose, I see it, every good and perfect gift truly from above, and how it resounds from the hilltops -- worth it, worth it, worth it.

927. That my parents taught all of us kids to cherish purity.

928. It's lavish display at the wedding.

929. New shoes, wedges with gold shimmer.

930. How we dance and dance and Lulie keeps saying, "Dance faster, Momma. Dance faster."

931. Slow dance with husband.

932. How Lulie, the flower-girl, flops in the green grass half through the ceremony but still manages to exit with the bridesmaids and ring bearer on cue.

933. How each of my sister-in-laws is a perfect fit in the family. How I finally have sisters!

934. Shoe shopping and great, great shoe advice from one sister.

935. Rhubarb recipes from another.

936. A book of poems from still another.

937. How we linger with relatives new and old soak in our family.

938. How Janie gathers extra bubbles to make sure Jack and Lulie get some.

939. How Myra Rose sacks out on the dance floor, limp on my arms.

940. How Jack tells me all he really wanted at the wedding was for me to sit next to him.

941. How Craig's parents gather our children and feed them yummy wedding food.

942. An afternoon breeze that rolls in to cool the tuxedo clad men and guests.

943. Husband in a tuxedo.

944. Kissin' him.

945. How the girls and I all wore flowers in our hair.

946. The birth of a new family

holy     experience


Heather said...

How absolutely beautiful.
I cried reading this.
What a lovely, lovely couple (of course... they're related to you :)

HopeUnbroken said...

oh, how true it is! a regret so worth not having. smiles, and blessings, and a prayer said over this new marriage in your family. may God continue to watch over them and guide them. they have begun well.

Jeff and Naomi said...

Thanks so much for posting verbal and visual snapshots of the celebration! Wish we could have been there to join the blessings in person. Congrats to you all--a lovely bunch of sisters indeed! :)

Goat said...

A few times in life we do things just right. This was one of those. Like Mary, on the night of Jesus birth after shepherds and heavenly choirs I will gather this small treasure in my heart and ponder its goodness forever.

Rose Emily said...

Oh Bethany I just love you! Thank you for sharing. Love the photos love being your sister!

Daniel and Cerissa said...

How blessed we are!!! Our family is now complete, and Rose is the perfect one to complete us!
p.s. I loved shoe shopping too... who would have thought?!

Craig and Bethany said...

Totally, now we are complete. I just love you guys so much. You too, Momma!

And I just have to say sling back wedges,

Happy honeymooning, sweet Rose.

Amy Bowman said...

so, so beautiful. i've got chills. this spurred me on to check myself, to keep teaching purity to my girls.
thank you.

Rachelle said...

Absolutely beautiful! How fun to have the Cowger family complete with such perfectness. Gorgeous photos too, and what an outstanding day you all had!

Lori said...

Cheers to this post! Made me cry and smile. Love you!

Keisha Valentina said...

Girl, this is absolutely a beautiful observance of your brother's wedding... I love how you notice the little things, sometimes those are the ones that really matter.

I MUST see these shoes! ;)

Dana said...

It sounds silly in 2011—yet everybody watched the couple and was excited for them. Such nice observations sweetie. You did a great job at capturing the moment. Rose and Peter won’t regret their resolute decision—I don’t regret ours—you don’t regret yours. Love you dear.

Craig and Bethany said...

Totally, no regret. None. at. all.

Your toast was perfect. I'm proud to be your daughter. Love you, Dad.

emily wierenga said...

you've captured purity with the swirl of a dress and the crisp of tuxedo. i love how you couldn't pull your eyes away...