Sunday, June 1, 2008

Raindrops and Rewards

What happens when rain threatens to ruin a beautiful outdoor wedding?

by Lindy Ford

I guess I was no different from most brides; I dreamed of the perfect wedding. After setting my June date many months beforehand, I felt very good about my special day. No detail was left to chance. The dress and flowers were breathtaking, attendants’ outfits were stunning, invitations were unique, and a meal fit for royalty was planned. A friend was bringing an elaborate sound system and electric keyboard for soloists during the ceremony. I hired a professional guitar player for some of the music.

Although all these arrangements were special, the crowning glory was the location. I have always loved historic places and happened to find the perfect place on the Chesapeake Bay. The house was grand with a huge oak tree on the property. I wistfully envisioned my lovely processional traveling down an aisle of white chairs to stop right at that tree. The Bay in the background would be an incredible backdrop. I just knew it.

That particular Maryland spring was unusual. April and May were the wettest on record. In June a large calendar in the local paper showed darkened blocks for all rainy days of the past two months. Only three were not darkened. In my thinking, by the time my date rolled around, it would have rained so much that I was safe; certainly the sky could yield no more moisture. On top of that, I was praying. All my family members were praying, even strangers. I would tell the bank teller to pray as well as the grocery store clerk. Prayer would seal the deal.

I confidently and busily soared to the week before the wedding. I met with the caterer and they asked about plan B (the rain plan). The weather reports stated a 30% chance of rain, so I cavalierly told them not to worry; no plan B needed—my day would be perfect. The night before the wedding, my future husband, Bryan, sweetly called and said, “Honey, I hate to tell you this, but I looked at the weather report and it doesn’t look good. There is a big green rain blob headed in our direction.” In firm denial, I wouldn’t hear of it. It couldn’t rain on all my hard work, dreams and worst of all – my prayers.

The next morning I woke to a torrential downpour. This rain had something to prove; even ducks were uncomfortable. By this time, reality and self-pity had set in. I took a half-hour shower just to cry and not upset anyone. How could this happen? What were we going to do? I told Bryan to call the officiating pastor to see if we could get married in a Denny’s booth over Grand Slams. I wanted to get married; I just didn’t want to attend my wedding.

As the day progressed, the rain poured down vengefully. The historic location people called my cell phone, which unfortunately was turned off. They wanted to know if I would pay extra to put flaps on the reception tent needed to house the ceremony. I guess the oak tree was out. When my brother-in-law arrived, the water on the tent floor was several inches deep. He, along with my sister-in-law, in their gown and tuxedo, paid for the flaps, got up on a ladder, and installed them.

I can’t believe my sister insisted I go to my own wedding, but she did. While I was teary and negative, we battled the elements all the way to the hair salon. My sister chirped along staying positive. She went around gingerly telling everyone not to mention the weather—like none of us could hear the pelting sheets of rain. What pink elephant?

Not only did we have a tough time getting to the wedding location, so did our guests. Roads were closed and traffic was horrendous. My sister finally had enough of my attitude and lectured me, “Stop the negativity. Do you realize how many women would give an appendage to marry a great guy like Bryan? Thank God He has blessed you so much.” Sisters have a way of getting real. I decided to change my attitude and look on the bright side. It was hard.

When I arrived at the wedding sight, I was told that because of the water none of the electronics for music could be used. I didn’t say anything and walked upstairs to get ready. I did happen to see my fiancĂ© who was as chipper and happy as if we had a bright sunny day. It sort of irritated me.

When I was adorned and descended the stairs, an incredible happened. The skies started to clear! Walking down the wedding aisle, I could see sunshine through the parted tent flaps. The rain completely stopped. As we said our vows, I noticed my photographer excitedly jumping up and down outside the tent. I wasn’t sure why. I also noticed that the music sounded incredibly beautiful. Later I discovered that my wonderful guitar player took it upon himself to quickly learn all the music and accompanied the singers with an acoustic guitar.

After the recessional, we found out why the photographer was so elated. Bryan looked up and said, “Look what God brought us!” I looked up to see double rainbows! Our photographer said that, in twenty years of work, he had never seen anything like it.

We laugh about the wedding now, but I assure you it was not funny at the time. God has taught me lessons through this ordeal like persevering when things look bleak and seeing the “big picture” instead of developing instant tunnel vision.

I love what the Bible says in Hebrews 10:35-36, “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.(NLT)” My encouragement to you is to hang in there, keep doing what is right and trust God. Perhaps a double rainbow is hiding, just above the clouds, ready to emerge in your life.