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Month: May 2015

A groom’s thoughts on the morning of his wedding day

It’s before 7 a.m. I want to sleep, but I’m awake. My body says “hit the snooze button” on its own internal alarm clock, but my mind is ready for the big day.

Last night at the rehearsal, I teased the women of the wedding about their five-hour timeframe for hair and makeup, insinuating that I would get to sleep in on Saturday morning while they were up nice and early, groggy and weary-eyed.

But, alas, I’m awake in bed in the six o’clock hour with nowhere to go and nothing to do but wait. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m up every day for work at this time. Why would my wedding day be any different?

I got out of bed and watched the series finale of Seinfeld on DVD before making my usual morning coffee run. It’s so nice living less than a mile from a cute little downtown area. I envision many Saturday morning strolls with Rachel into town and around our neighborhood. The location of the house was one of its primary attractions to us.

***

I managed to kill a little bit of the excess time this morning, but it isn’t even 9:30 yet — the women aren’t even halfway done with the hair and makeup.

I suppose I could use this time to be productive. Maybe run through our first dance routine one or two more times. Rachel and I gave it one final walkthrough last night before we parted for the evening. Practicing by myself might prove to be a bit difficult. We’ll both admit we’re not the most graceful dancers — between the two of us, we have four left feet.

***

I noticed an influx of questions come pouring in over the last few weeks as the wedding date rapidly approached.

“Are you nervous?”

“Are you excited?”

“Are you getting cold feet?” (followed by a playful laughter)

My answers have remained the same throughout.

“I’m nervous about nothing … except maybe the first dance.”

“I’m as excited — if not more — as I was the day I proposed.”

“And my feet are warmer than they’ll be on the sandy beaches of Antigua come Memorial Day afternoon.”

The truth is, I’ve been ready for this day for quite some time. It’s been a dream of mine for all my life — at least, once I hit puberty and discovered an interest in girls. Back then, I was a shy, bumbling, awkward kid with an intense fear of rejection. These days … well, I can still be bumbling and awkward at times, and the fear of rejection never really goes away, but at least I’m not a shy kid anymore.

I used to wonder why it took me so long to find the woman of my dreams. “Why me, God?” is an all too familiar question from all of us. If it were up to me, I’d have been married with children at 33 years old.

But then I realized that my wishes aren’t always exactly what are best for me. And if they are, my timing isn’t necessarily the right thing for me, either.

Rachel needed to finish grad school and get her feet wet in the working world. I needed to clear up some financial matters and set myself up as the provider I want to be.

After all that, God’s plan and timing worked out much better than my “ideal” plan was.

***

It’s still morning. My coffee is getting cold. The countdown app on my iPhone says there are more than 16,700 seconds — give or take a few — until we say “I do.” Across the room, my tux is hanging neatly within its plastic. I guess I have a little bit of time before I need to shave, shower, and suit up for the big game!

I want to look good for my bride. I know in her eyes I could pull off the style of a Bulls t-shirt and athletic pants like no other, but why don’t we stick with the traditional route? I don’t mind wearing a tux. It’s fun and different, and actually, I find them to be quite comfortable. Really.

I remember picking mine up from the bridal shop yesterday. I wound up driving over 150 miles around the county in a span of seven hours, running last-minute errands for the wedding and the honeymoon. The nice lady at the shop asked me if I had time to try on the tux … as if the answer would be anything but a resounding yes! I know I won the jackpot by landing a girl like Rachel, but I won’t press my luck on the suit fitting properly.

It’s a good thing I did try it on because the pants were too short and the shirt was two sizes too big! I looked liked a puffy-shirted pirate wearing Steve Urkel’s pants. How proud my bride would have been to see me in that. In fact, I think she would have much preferred the Bulls shirt and athletic pants.

After straightening it all out, I left the bridal shop with my tux, but not before the ladies — yes, there were three of them at that point — said one more lasting thing: “Your bride looks so beautiful in her dress; you’re going to cry.”

To which, I replied: “Oh, I expect to.”

Because this much I know to be true: when the music starts playing, as the audience rises to its feet, and when every eye in the building — including mine — is looking at the stunning beauty in white being led down the aisle by her admirable father … that blonde-haired bride will be looking back at me.

***

At some point in my early twenties, inspired by what I had read from others, I decided to create a bucket list — you know, a list of activities, destinations and events that a person wants to do, go and see before he or she dies. Scattered throughout my list are some of the typical things people add to theirs: learn another language, visit a variety of states and countries, learn to play an instrument, etc.

But at the top of that list, firmly entrenched as my top priority, I wrote: “Be a husband.”

Notice the way that’s phrased, though. It’s not just to get married. The wedding is just one day of your life. Being a husband involves so much more. It’s a constant, challenging, ongoing, never-ending task, for which I’ve never been more eager or prepared.

So, to my darling fiancée, and soon-to-be wife (in 14,500 seconds), I say to you this:

I cannot promise you that I will be perfect, as no man or woman is.
I cannot promise you that I will never say or do anything stupid, for moments of stupidity are inevitable.
I cannot promise you that I will have all the answers, because as you already know, I certainly do not.

But what I can promise you is this:

My faith to keep us on the right path, my comfort to soften your fall, my strength to lift you up, my balance to keep you steady, my feet to guide you along, my ears to hear you speak, my eyes to let you know you’re mine, my mouth to speak it true, my heart to beat in sync with yours to share the good and bad, and my love to make you feel like no other has ever felt.

It’s time now to get the tux on and get ready for the best day of our lives. Because, Rach, we are…

“Goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married.”

And you thought you had mean neighbors…

Nearly everyone has had some kind of tiff with a neighbor at some point in their lives, or at least has known someone who has gone through such an experience. Most often it’s a result of some kind of boundary dispute or noise complaint on which you don’t quite see eye-to-eye. Just as brothers and sisters can get into fights because personalities will conflict over a prolonged period of time, certain rifts can forge between nearby neighbors.

But perhaps the most discouraging spats with neighbors occur when they’re just plain unfriendly and unyielding when it comes to city ordinances.

In a story from CBS Pittsburgh, a 14-year-old girl meticulously built a luxurious tree house in her front yard as part of her school’s class project. It was a two-story getaway with Harry Potter posters, a battery-powered fan and light. It even had a bird feeder outside and a place to put a television.

Not a bad job by a kid, huh?

Apparently, her grumpy, curmudgeonly neighbor filed a complaint with the city council and now the girl is being forced to take it down because it doesn’t comply with city codes.

I’m one who believes firmly in rules and laws. But I’m also one who believes in letting kids grow and develop life skills and to have their fun before childhood passes them by.

At least the girl got an A-plus on her assignment and was able to enjoy it for a while.

Leap Second: Y2K15?

June 30 of this year just got a little bit longer. According to ABC News, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems (IERS) has announced that an extra second will be tacked on to our calendar to correct a discrepancy between Earth’s rotation and the atomic clock.

Apparently there are some who are concerned that the unique time change will cause problems with computer systems. Is this Y2K Part II? Well, if you see an influx of shoppers at your local grocery stores buying all the canned goods and batteries that they can possibly hold, then you’ll know panic and fear of the end of the world has settled in.

For me, it’ll be just another second of sleep I get to enjoy.

Burgers on the grill alleviate paint fumes in the bathroom

When you have some time to yourself and are doing mindless, repetitive work, it gives you the opportunity to do some thinking. Yesterday while spending nine hours painting our new master bathroom, I was able to ponder some of the important things in life.

I started the day listening to sports talk radio — a favorite pastime of mine — as three pundits debated and analyzed the rookies that the Chicago Bears had selected in this year’s NFL Draft. When they went off the air, I put my iTunes on shuffle and hummed — sometimes sang — along to some of my favorite music. Finally, sometime in the afternoon, I blocked out all audio and decided to let my mind wander.

After opening the window to let some air in — and let the paint fumes out — I couldn’t help but hear what was going on around the neighborhood. The first thing I noticed was the sound of kids playing in the distance. This warmed the heart not only by bringing back memories from my past, playing sports in the yard with my best friends on a warm, spring day, but it also let me know that despite the influx in technology that affords almost every young child a digital device in their hands, having a healthy, active social life is still alive and well.

I realize that there’s a growing problem with unhealthy living among kids these days. I think too often I catch kids playing on their iPods, cell phones or other gaming devices when they could be outside getting some fresh air and exercise. I once even caught a kid playing basketball on a phone and asked him, “Why don’t you just go outside and play that?” (He actually went out and kept playing basketball on his device, but at least he was outside).

The next thing I noticed while lying on the cold, hard tile on my side with a paintbrush in my hand was the smell of a grill somewhere in the nearby vicinity. With only some Dove chocolates and flavored peanuts in my stomach, I was salivating at the mouth.

I love barbecues. I enjoy the togetherness with friends and family, the yard games and swimming, and of course, the delicious burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, potato salad, fruit, and other yummy food! Going to barbecues are one of my favorite summertime activities because it’s a good chance to connect with others and really relax and enjoy the life God has provided us.

The last thing I noticed while hunched over the toilet — no, I wasn’t sick; I was just trying to get a better angle at painting behind the toilet … don’t get me started on that difficult chore! — was a quiet conversation from our neighbors. Don’t worry, I didn’t eavesdrop, and I couldn’t make out what was being said, anyway. But when I stood up I could see out the window into the yard next door and saw them sitting around their patio table basking in the beautiful weather.

I’m a man who enjoys simple pleasures and I couldn’t be happier with the day I had on Saturday. Was it hard work painting? Oh yeah. It took me two hours to tape the trim and another nine hours to finish painting — this in addition to the eight hours I spent painting the other half of the room the previous weekend. I wound up sore from head to toe after contorting my body in all different shapes and angles.

But in a short period of time I was able to escape into momentary bliss, getting lost in the moment and enjoying the beauty of life. Sometimes we get lost in the middle of our busy lives, painting bathrooms or playing on our digital devices, and we don’t take a moment to enjoy and appreciate the natural gifts all around us.

Take the time to look around you and you just might find something pleasing to the senses.