Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happily Ever After

Today I attended the funeral for my sweet Aunt Carolyn. She had been sick for many years with Alzheimer's Disease and it was a blessing to know that she is finally out of her broken body and with her Saviour in heaven. I enjoyed celebrating her life although I will greatly miss her on this earth. I had the privilege of being one of the speakers to share some family memories. My aunt was such a mother, caretaker and a servant. She loved the Lord and loved and cared for His sheep. One of her cousins also shared about her life, and reminded all of us that my aunt and uncle were the first people to get married in the new building at the church in which her memorial service was held. She shared how beautiful Carolyn looked on her wedding day. I believe it because I have seen the pictures. Her dress was spectacular and I remember as a young woman wanting to wear her dress for my wedding. However, when the time came, the dress was starting to deteriorate since it had not been preserved. I am certain that there was a coordinator for the church that organized the ceremony. Weddings were much simpler back then; they probably just had a cake and punch reception at the church with a receiving line. They most definitely threw rice as they left for their honeymoon. My aunt and uncle changed clothes before leaving because no one wore their wedding clothes upon leaving their celebration. My grandparents never had much money, so there wouldn't have been thousands of dollars spent on flower arrangements and centerpieces; no DJ, videographer, band... However, I am confident that it was an amazing ceremony and one aspect stands out to me. My aunt and uncle stood before their pastor, bright eyed and joyous on their special day, which occurred on Thanksgiving day in 1959, and they recited the words that so many people have for generations before and after, "To have and hold, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others..." You see, I saw that lived out in their lives. They went through the wonderful times of having babies and raising their kids together. The pain and stress of taking care of her ailing mother in their house, watching friends suffer losses of spouses and children; unemployment. The uncertainty of tomorrow. Their marriage which began on that joyous day over 50 years ago withstood the test of time. While my aunt was still mentally alert, she loved on my uncle. They were always kind to one another, they had sweet nicknames for each other, they told each other they loved the other and they always hugged and kissed. My uncle loved his wife by taking care of her when she didn't even know who he was anymore. He served her until he just couldn't physically handle the care anymore. Then he lovingly made the most painful decision to give her to someone who could take care of her 24/7 in ways that he was no longer able. A couple of years later, he decided to move into the same facility where she lived, but in the assisted living section. He visited her daily and loved her still. "Until death do us part." On Saturday, they finally parted. I think my generation has lost the art of loving in that way. We go into relationships and marriage desiring to be loved and cherished, but not understanding the great lengths and challenges that commitment brings; the difficult choices that must be made. My generation thinks that love is supposed to be like the love we see portrayed in Fairy Tales or in movies. Hollywood has painted a false view of love and commitment. So many romantic films these days find love born out of infidelity and we call it romance. My aunt and uncle are from a rare breed of people who found a way to make it work, no matter what the circumstances. I am thankful for Carolyn's life and legacy, and for her and Ed's example of what true, selfless, unconditional love looks like. It is the kind of love the Jesus showed us by dying on the cross. Because of this love, this great, sacrificial love offering that both my aunt and uncle believed in and their lives reflected, this true fairy tale wedding and marriage does not end today. These two love birds will be united again in heaven, perfect and whole and with their Savior. This story ends with the purest form of "Happily Ever After."

Erin Joyner Wedding Coordinator Bryan College Station, TX

1 comment:

Ashley said...

That is a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it : )