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.