June woke up on New Year’s Day a very happy woman. She woke up “just married” next to the man she had loved for over thirty years. It’s a wonderful story culminating in a wedding that I was privileged to preside over along with my wife, Marti. I guess you could call it the first Catch wedding.
Thirty-three years ago, June and Paul met and fell in love. In the course of their courtship, June found out Paul was an alcoholic who twice had almost died. As much as she loved him, she did not want to be the victim of a widow-maker, so in the best interest of herself and her future, though it broke her heart, she broke it off. They drifted apart and ended up in other marriages. Almost thirty yards later, after faithfully nursing his wife through a number of years of cancer until her death two years ago, Paul started thinking of June again and wondering what had happened to her. Ten years of sobriety had made him a different man. He knew that if he found her, and she was not in a relationship, he would pursue her with everything he had. So he went looking for her on Facebook which just happened to be the first day June had experimented with social media, and there she was; and much to his joy, she had also lost a marriage and had not been in a relationship for some time.
That began a year and a half of courtship via letters, emails and phone calls, culminating in their first physical reunion on December 30, 2014, and their marriage the very next day! So convinced were they of their love for each other and the knitting of their souls together, that there was no need to waste any time. It was the easiest, most joyful wedding I’ve ever been involved with. Seven guests gathered at June’s home to witness this joyous event, and June’s granddaughter, whom she has adopted, was the ring-bearer (that’s another long redemptive story).
They told me they had their own vows to read to each other, but just in case, I had the usual ones handy. Not necessary. Paul’s vows, which contained some pretty expressive white-hot passion, barely printable, made me say: “Well, you guys, I had the traditional ‘… for richer, for poorer … ’til death do us part,’ stuff ready, but you just blew that out of the water!”
Paul’s main point was that God had used June to bring him from darkness to light. In his pursuit of her, unconditionally, he mirrored God’s pursuit of us as the “hound of heaven,” and in the humility created by his long road to sobriety, he reflected what Christ gave up to become one of us and die on a cross for our sins.
What a way to begin the new year! Happy New Year everyone, and thank you for your incredible year-end support.
I wrote what I call a Freudian typo when I entered the first sentence of this Catch. I wrote: “June woke up on New Tear’s Day a very happy woman.” Yes … well … that, too.
June is one of our faithful prayer partners.