Monday, June 30, 2008

The Strongest Support

By Nichole Giles

The bride walked down the aisle, her escort holding her elbow tightly to keep her from slipping and toppling in the pool at her left, in which rings of Gerber Daisies happily floated. A large tent shaded the people crowding around several round tables on one side of the pool, and umbrellas set strategically throughout the rest of the yard shaded everyone else. Well, everyone but the bride and groom, who took their vows under the melting summer sun.

Whispers rose among the guests, mostly about the bride’s glowing beauty, some about the groom’s happy countenance, and a few comments on the decorations or weather. No one dared speak the sad knowledge that hung over the wedding party that day.

The food was ready, the flowers were fresh and bold, and the decorations stunning. The weather even cooperated, allowing a light breeze to cool the sting of the warm sun. But something very important was missing.

The bride’s family did not attend.

This beautiful bride had recently made some life choices that would not allow her to be sealed in the temple, and so her parents and siblings refused to support her on her special day.

But she smiled, held her head up, and as her father-in-law-to-be escorted her past the guests, she let the tears of disappointment fall. Ahe looked into the crowd and knew with finality that those people she loved most were not there.

Not that she didn’t have support. Several aunts, uncles, cousins and friends came to show their love and support, and a grandmother (released from a recent hospital stay only one day prior) who sat in place of the bride’s mother. The bride’s gratitude was clear, as she smiled brightly—with bittersweet tears in her eyes and hugged every person who came through the line. Her wedding day was special anyway, despite the absence of her parents.

Sadly, I suspect the bride is not the one who will suffer the worst consequences in this situation. She is now on her honeymoon with her new husband, and their life together is only beginning. They look forward with hope and happiness, knowing that with time, the things that kept them from being sealed will be forgiven, thanks to the Atonement, and someday they will have the opportunity to be sealed for eternity.

The members of the bride’s family will also have the opportunity to seek forgiveness, if they are able to see past their anger and judgment and ask for it. Because holding anger in our hearts, and using that anger to judge another person—no matter who—is also a grievous sin. That family missed a very important day in their daughter and sister’s life, and though they did so out of anger or hurt, their actions have affected a daughter of God. They too, must repent.

I left the wedding with a bittersweet feeling, remembering the familiar line in the hymn that says, “Who am I to judge another, Lord, I would follow thee.” And understood again that it is not our job, or even our right, to judge each other—regardless of appearances, circumstances, or visible sins. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is precious, and personal, and only He has the right to decide the outcome of our choices.


So to that beautiful bride and her sweet husband, I wish you the best of luck in your new life together. May you always remember that even when your earthly family falls short, your Heavenly Family will always love and support you. And with Heavenly Father’s help, everyone else will come around.

7 comments:

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Nichole

My wedding was quite similar to the one you described. Except the reason my family wasn't there was because I chose to be married in the temple - and they weren't LDS. They were so mad that I was getting married to a Mormon, in the temple where they couldn't attend, that no one - not a single relative - even sent me a card to say congrats. It was like my wedding day just a blip on the calendar for them. I remember being so upset the morning of our wedding, that my hubby's dad gave me a blessing for peace and guidance from Heavenly Father.

Ironically, today I'm the only sibling still married (ten years this summer!), has kids, and is happy with where my life has led and where it's going. And of course, now they all really like my hubby.

Tell your friend to hang in there and just trust and have faith in Heavenly Father. He'll carry her through.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks for sharing, Danyelle. Isn't it funny the way people react to differences in religion?

It was a beautiful wedding, and though the bride was sad, she did have some support, and that helped her tremendously. I hope that ten years from now she will still be married and happy as well as you.

Nichole

ali said...

Hi Nichole and Danyelle,

Nichole, that was beautifully written. I, too, had a day much like that. Like Danyelle, I was the only member marrying a Mormon man.

I remember feeling that sadness on a day that should have been the happiest of my life. But as they say, the heart knows what it wants.

For me, my wedding day was a small sacrifice for a lifetime of love and happiness. I hope your friend finds the same.

Hugs to her!

Nichole Giles said...

Ali,

Thanks so much for sharing. I think stories like this help us all to know we're not alone in our grief or frustration or whatever we're feeling.

I'm glad to know your sacrifice was well worth it.

Nichole

Heather Justesen said...

Nichole, thanks for sharing this experience. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for the bride. My sister will be marrying civilly this fall because her finace isn't a member. It's heartbreaking, but I would never miss her wedding because of that.

Anyway, stop by my blog--you've been tagged.

Rachelle said...

Great post Nichole! I was excited to see it in the newsletter today. :)

LoraLee Evans said...

Nichole, that was a sweet story you told. In spite of the mistake your friend made, they should be there for her, to help her move beyond what she did, and make a happy life for herself and her family. It sounds like she wants to do the right thing. And I wish her all the best. As imperfect individuals ourselves, sometimes we take not judging others to the opposite extreme her parents did, and believe that we don’t have the right to protect ourselves from people or situations that may be harmful to us, because we think we “don’t have the right” to judge.

In the case of your friend, it is clear that her parents and immediate family made a poor choice in not supporting her. But there are of course, situations where we not only have the right, but the obligation to judge, or in other words, use our good sense. Like in the case of this post, it was entirely right for you to understand that her parents avoiding her wedding was inappropriate. And I sincerely hope that your friend’s parents will be able to repent of their own short comings, and support their daughter in the future.