8.16.20_SFCs: Three to be married.

Dad,

There are times when all I seem to think about is boys and relationships. It’s like free floating on waves. I bob up to the peak of the wave and see clearly, then proceed to fall to the bottom (the “trough” in technical terms) awaiting the next peak. The time between one peak and the next varies. The height of the peak and distance to the trough also varies. It can be a little dip or a deep plunge. Sea level, or rest position, is halfway between. How I often desire to stay in the rest position. I think this is the relationship we humans feel with ourselves and many things. We desire to be at sea level. We want to belong somewhere. Not to experience drastic peaks and troughs that hurl us into temporary ecstasy just to make the inevitable crash almost unrecoverable. This doesn’t mean we live safe and hidden lives away from others and the world. Rather it means we are able to experience the peaks and troughs, while being firmly anchored at sea level. Confident in our identity and worth. Anchored to something beyond the fluctuations of feelings and succession of joys and sorrows we experience in this world.

So the same characterizes my thoughts on boys and dating and marriage. At the peak, my hands are open for whatever the Lord intends for me. I see a relationship with a man is good but an intimate relationship with the Lord is great, so if knowing Him and following His plan means singleness right now or forever, this is what is great for me. Laying down what is good and taking up what is great. In the trough of the wave, I seriously doubt this. I pity myself and indulge a false sense of loneliness. Pleading with the Lord why I cannot have a man to love me and hold me this instant. Though these thoughts threaten to plunge me into a “woe is me” despair, I have a new sense of the truth to deny their destructiveness. It came the day of my friend Heather’s beautiful wedding.

I was not able to attend, being in Denmark, but I watched the livestream. It was the middle of the night here. I had been looking forward to seeing the wedding all day because I have never been a part of the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic church, virtually or in person. I knew it was going to be so special. Not only because Heather is one of my closest friends and I love her family but also because of a unique bond I feel with her dad. I spent a week at her house around New Year’s when I was still a graduate assistant at TCU, and it felt like a second home. Maybe he is just very much like you, dad. I believe the Lord has provided me with more earthly fathers since you died. Not to replace you but to remind me of the fatherly love He has for me. To remind me I am a daughter. I told Heather when her and Brandon first got engaged and she asked me to be a bridesmaid that one of the things I was most looking forward to in the ceremony was seeing her walk down the aisle with her dad. Though I will not be able to experience the same and this has tormented me in the past, my words were wholeheartedly the truth. I was filled with joy just thinking about what it would be like for both of them. I would have loved to be there in person, of course, but watching Heather and her dad arm in arm walking toward Brandon, awaiting his bride, was one of the most magical moments I have ever witnessed. The short walk down the aisle for Heather and her dad comprised years of a living and fulfilling father daughter relationship. The truth of the aisle walk etched itself into my heart.

I have to walk with my Father before I can walk with a husband.              

It was so clear to me, and I knew it was the truth. I have not walked arm in arm with you, dad, with my Father, to grow and live in our father daughter relationship for an aisle worth of moments. And this is something I do not want to rush, though it often grieves me I cannot yet be at the position to be handed off from father to husband. Everything about this transformation was right at Heather’s wedding. Her dad recognized she was filled and immensely happy with Brandon. Heather loves her dad and their relationship, which is exactly what gives her confidence and excitement to be joined forever as one with Brandon. And Brandon, a wise and patient godly man, knows the importance of Heather being firmly nurtured in a father daughter relationship before she can be a wife and love him well as a husband. The transition was seamless. As the Holy Trinity, all were separate but at the same time one in a divine mystery.

So when the waves of thoughts on boys and dating come one right after another and the troughs seem bleak and unendurable, the truth of this amazing mystery brings light to the loneliness. Truth and grace bring me back arm in arm walking with my Father. It is not up to me how long the aisle is or even if there is a husband awaiting his bride at the end of it. I get to walk as a daughter with my Father and live abundantly in every moment.

I love you dad,

Lauren

PS- Heather and Brandon, I love you both and hope it was okay to share the impact your wedding had on me! Also, the title is not my own. “Three to get Married” is a book by the Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Highly recommended.

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