Last weekend we were in Jensen Beach, Florida to be a part of my niece's wedding. The bride was beautiful, the groom and his men appropriately anxious, and, though the priest kept mis-pronouncing Kristin's name, the ceremony was "just right."
My sister-in-law's tears as she was escorted down the aisle were a poignant reminder of the death of her and my brother's son, the bride's brother. Hugs were gifts of comfort and hope.
The reception was a grand celebration. Relatives and friends from across the state and across the years swapped stories and laughter. And of course, there was food!
I was amazed at how much my cousins' children had grown and changed- even since last summer's reunion! It was sad to see first-hand Pop's further decline- and I was reminded again about how strong Granny has always been.
Family gatherings are occasions of an incredible mixture of laughter and tears, young and old, past and future, memories shared and memories made. They are powerful reminders of where we came from, that past failures can become stepping-stones into a brighter tomorrow, and most importantly- who we are.
Church is a lot like family.