"I've been waiting for a girl like you
To come into my life
I've been waiting for a girl like you
My loving will survive
Yeah, waiting for a girl like you
To come into my life…"
Whew! We have just completed a marathon month of graduation and wedding celebrations that took us to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado, Iowa, and Illinois, traveling through countless other states to get to our destinations.
We attended, cooked for, or hosted, more than two dozen dinners, awards, parties, teas, receptions, weddings, baccalaureate ceremonies, showers, barbeques, lunches and breakfasts. And we had a blast!
May into June was wonderful and we saved one of the most extraordinary events for last…Jill's wedding. Jill is sister, friend, confidante, fellow mom, person-I-am-most-likely-to ever-get-in trouble-with (not illegal…just silly/naughty…like nude sun-bathing in an almost public place kind of trouble) all rolled into one.
Two years ago I was trying desperately to fix my dear friend (the same above-mentioned, Jill) up on a date with another very dear friend. I was sure they would be a perfect match…if for nothing more than as someone they could each go to movies with and laugh out loud. Neither was particularly interested in my match-making. They each knew and admired one another, but as dating material…not so much.
I was perplexed. It was clear to me that these were two of the greatest people on the planet. Both were funny, good, irreverent and deeply spiritual. How could they not be right for one another…they were both so right and perfect in my eyes.
Within a short time our guy friend found himself in love with, as he says, "the love of his life" and Jill was still a successful and happy single mom hanging out with me at Starbucks playing Apples to Apples with our teenage children and laughing like schoolgirls on holiday….whenever we could.
But my deep desire to see her dream for a "happy and permanent" companionship really didn't go away. Jill herself told me that our mutual friend's success in love, rather than making her feel envious or left out, made her feel only a sense of anticipation and promise. She knew that I had only wanted good for each of them and that, as Mary Baker Eddy says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals." God wasn't unfolding a warm and loving heart for one of them to companion with, and not the other. Her prayer became one of expectation rather than desire. She lived her life with the peace-filled confidence of someone who knows (not just hopes) that her days of being single are numbered.
Within months a man, she had known when they were both children in grade school, contacted her after she registered for a class reunion. He had never forgotten the feisty little blonde on the playground although his family had long since moved to another state. Although he had seen her briefly on visits to the old neighborhood throughout his school years, over thirty years later he was still wondering what had become of the little girl, who with her sisters, had ruled the neighborhood with their laughter and their good-hearted joy. He had never married (although he had come close), never had children, and had devoted his life to family and business.
Soon they were emailing regularly and within months he had invited her to visit him at the family farm where he had created a heartland paradise for vacationers on the Upper Iowa River. Jill told me that the first time she visited Harvest Farm, she felt at home. Not long after that first visit, with family and friend waiting eagerly on the ground, her prince charming gave her a bird's eye view of his 175-acre wonderland from a hot air balloon while he proposed marriage. Those on the ground didn't need a high sign from either Jill or her fiancée to know it was time to celebrate, as one of them told me last weekend, "I could tell by the look his face that all his dreams had come true on that ride in a hot air balloon."
"…Now I know it's right,
from the moment I wake up
till deep in the night;
There's nowhere on earth that I'd rather be
than holding you tenderly…"
So, last Saturday, after driving 7 hours through the farmlands of Missouri and Iowa, we arrived at Harvest Farm for Jill's wedding. Jeff and I had written the entire service, their vows, and a wedding song we would perform before Jill, her husband, the children, their families, and almost three hundred guests who couldn't wait to welcome Jill (and the children) into their community of love, friendship, hard work, and care.
Jill's groom, a strong farmer with Midwestern work ethics and a heart of gold cried like a boy as he watched his precious bride come towards him through the throngs of loved ones cheering her forward…each smiling step of the way. He wept with joy as she promised to love, honor and cherish him "longer than they both would live". We wept, and wept and wept…for their joy, but more importantly for the indication of God's care that this day represented to so many of us. God does "set the solitary in families" and he sets families in even larger villages of kindness, joy and love.
As we drove away from Harvest Farm Saturday night, we could hear the music blaring from speakers set up throughout the campground, we could see smoke rising from the campfire, we could almost feel the laughter and dancing ricocheting off the walls of the canyon where the river flowed beneath them. But what was clearer than the smile on Jill's face, the tears on his cheeks, or the peace everyone of us felt about this union, was the unseen miracle we each felt we had witnessed that day. It was a miracle with a message…a message that would echo for a long, long time through the chambers of our hearts…
God's promises are kept…
I love you JillyBean,