March 17, 2015
secured the final wedding rehearsal photo and closed the
scrapbook. JenniAnn had promised someone would bring it over
to the reception that afternoon.
up from the table and winced as her back protested hours of
sitting. The sun was just peeking over the edge of the ocean
and beginning to stream in the windows.
impulse, she flung open the door and ran down the steps into
the surf. Icy water from the rising tide splashed her
nightgown, but she ignored it.
lifted her face to the warm rays. “Thank You….so much. My
heart’s just so full right now. I love You.”
JenniAnn offered when Kemara walked into the Willowveil
kitchen. Belle sat in her high chair attempting to feed
herself oatmeal. She babbled excitedly when she saw Kemara.
woman put a hand over her stomach. “No, thanks. I could
probably use it, but I’m so nervous I doubt it would stay
down.” She dropped a kiss on the top of Belle’s head - the
cleanest part of her at the moment. “Good morning, honey.”
sleep much?” her friend asked sympathetically.
sank into a chair. “No; I finished the scrapbook instead; it’s
waiting on the coffee table - the glue still needs to dry a
little. Are you the only ones up?”
JenniAnn nodded. “Andrew gave Belle a small bottle about 4,
and then he went back to sleep.”
raised her eyebrows. “I’m surprised all of the kids are still
they were up pretty late. Ciara tried to make them be quiet,
but they were just too excited.”
they seem to be getting on well with Liam and Jacob. It’ll be
good for them to have someone to play with at the reception.”
Kemara got up and, going over to the refrigerator poured
herself a glass of milk. She took a tentative sip, and carried
it back to the table.
about some toast?” JenniAnn suggested. At Kemara’s nod, she
put two slices of bread in the toaster. “We’ll make a big pan
once everyone is up and then set out all the cereal for people
to help themselves.”
smiled fondly at the brightly colored boxes lining the
counter. “Froot Loops...Joshua’s favorite. I hope we see him
The toast popped up and JenniAnn set the plate and the butter
dish in front of Kemara. “Here you go.”
Kemara spread butter on a piece of toast and nibbled one
corner. “Want some help?”
shook her head. “Nope. I’ve got it. You just sit and eat.”
watched as JenniAnn bustled around the kitchen: cleaning up
Belle, setting out bowls and spoons and the pitcher of milk,
readying more bread for the oven.
ever say, ‘thank you’ for doing all this?” she asked suddenly.
“Letting our families stay here and take over your house and
hosting the reception and the food and all?”
my pleasure!” JenniAnn looked surprised. “You’re family, and
I’m so glad we were able to help.”
got up and hugged her friend. When Andrew came into the
kitchen he found them laughing and wiping away tears.
morning! What’s all this?”
Belle squealed and held out her arms to him.
to her and lifted her out of the high chair. “Good morning,
waved a hand. “I’m just being maudlin,” she said. She smiled
at father and daughter. “I can’t wait to see Belle in her
in his suit!” JenniAnn added. “Monica made it just like Sean
and Brad’s even down to the vest.”
you find a basket for Kelly to use?”
did,” Ciara said from the doorway. She was holding Erin, and
Kelly stood beside her looking half asleep. “Mom has a silver
one that will work great. Where are we feeding this bunch?”
she asked JenniAnn.
gestured to the row of cereal boxes. “We’ll just park ‘em in
the TV room with trays.”
shrugged. “Fine by me.” She grinned. “I’ll tell Brad he’s in
charge of supervising.”
have some milk?” Kelly asked, yawning.
course you can!” Kemara got a plastic cup a with picture from
“Beauty and the Beast” on the front, and filled it with milk.
“Here you go.”
climbed onto Kemara’s vacated chair. “Thank you.” She picked
up the discarded piece of toast and took a bite.
started to say something, but Kemara shook her head. “It’s OK.
I was done anyway.”
Max appeared in the doorway. “Good morning! Oh, Kemara you’re
here. Good! I’ve put all your stuff in the room your parents
I’ll go hop in the shower then.” They had decided that the
easiest way to style her and Ivy’s hair would be while it was
Kemara had just started down the fourth-floor hallway when the
sound of a door opening made her turn around. Sean had just
emerged from his room. When he saw her, he clapped both hands
over his eyes.
you do that for?”
supposed to see you!”
pulled his hands away. He was grinning. “Silly….that’s only
after I get all fancied up. Jeans and T-shirt is fine.”
wrapped his arms around her. “Oh, good. So, as much as I might
wish it, I know you weren’t trying to sneak into my room.”
giggled. “Nope! Rose put all my clothes and makeup in the
other bedroom. I came up to get my shower. And I’m locking the
door, so don’t even try to peek,” she warned.
dream of it. I want to be surprised. But I wouldn’t care if
you wore a St. Patrick’s Day T-shirt and jeans to get married
in. You don’t need any ‘fancying up’.
stretched up and kissed him. ‘Thank you. I’d better get
parted reluctantly. “Oh, I almost forgot -” Kemara stopped
with her hand on the guest room handle. “Ciara was going to
make Brad supervise the little kids at breakfast in the TV
room. You might want to steer clear.”
pretended to shudder. “Thanks for the warning.”
JenniAnn had Kemara’s makeup and hair done by just after 9.
want Andrew to drive you over?” JenniAnn asked as she gathered
up the makeup to leave the room clean for David and Joyce that
night. “I’ve just got to get Belle dressed, but he’s ready.”
shook her head. “That’s OK. I’ll wait. Has Sean left yet?”
I heard his door shut while we were doing your hair,” Rose
said. “So probably.” She went behind Kemara and separated out
a few more curls. “There! All done!”
gazed at herself in the full-length mirror that stood in a
corner of the room. “I don’t even recognize myself. Thank you
both!” She hugged them.
buzzed and she picked it up. “Mom says they should be at St.
Mary Mags about 9:45.”
made a face. “I feel bad they have to get through rush-hour
traffic this morning. I think we could’ve found room for them.
OK.” Kemara hesitated. “Mom….she apologized to Sean and I last
night about how she misjudged us and all our friends. I don’t
think she was really in the mood to have everyone around after
hugged her again. “Oh I’m so glad you were able to work it all
said Rose, smiling. “Now you can leave tomorrow knowing that
you’ve mended things with her.”
nodded. “Can I go with you to get Belle dressed?”
JenniAnn looked surprised. “But everyone will see you.”
OK. As long as it’s a surprise to Sean, I don’t care about the
others. I have to ride over with y’all anyway.”
smiled. Her friend only “talked Southern” when she was
nervous. “Alright. Let get the princess into her gown.”
didn’t mind wearing the white dress with blue butterflies or
having butterfly clips put in her dark curls. What she did
object to were shoes.
she screamed for the fifth time. JenniAnn and Andrew had both
tried to put the soft navy Mary Janes on her, but she kicked
“JenniAnn, it’s no big deal,” Kemara said. “She doesn’t need
to wear them.” She sat down in a nearby chair and looked at
her own heels. “I wish I could leave mine off.”
who had melted onto the floor in a puddle of tears, caught
sight of her shoes. “Pitty!” she said, crawling over for a
inspiration, Kemara took Belle’s own slippers and held them
up. “Yours are pretty too.”
Cautiously, Belle nodded.
put them on for you?”
thought this over. “O-ay.” She said at last holding up one
and Andrew exchanged smiles.
that’s over,” he said. “I hate to see my little elf cry.”
really is,” JenniAnn agreed. “Sometimes I think it’s a wonder
she’ll wear clothes at all.”
laughed. “I don’t blame her. Shoes can be bad.” She buckled
the second Mary Jane. “Now you’ve got pretty feet, too!”
pulled herself up and toddled over to stand beside Kemara’s
chair. She looked down at their feet. “Pitty, pitty,” she said
When they came downstairs five minutes later, they found Ciara
waiting in the foyer with the little girls.
and Monica took the boys, and Brad left with Sean about half
an hour ago. But we decided to wait for you all.”
looked at Belle in JenniAnn’s arms and smiled. “We match!”
do!” JenniAnn said. “Are you excited?”
nodded. “When do I get flowers?”
church. We’ll give you a whole basketful!”
was counting noses as Ivy and Violeta clattered down the
stairs. “Where are Max and Rose?”
they’ve already gone, too,” Ciara said. “I knew I was
forgetting someone! I think they took Max’s truck.”
think we’ll all fit,” Andrew said. “Good thing we don’t have
to go far though.”
drove through the portal, Kemara was a little sorry to see
gray skies instead of sunshine, but even that couldn’t dampen
met them in the narthex. “Kemara! You look beautiful.” As he
hugged her, he whispered. “Sean’s waiting in my office if you
want a moment alone. You’re still planning to greet everyone
nodded and kissed his cheek. “Thank you, Father Mike. For
pleasure. See you in a bit.”
watched as Kemara hurried down the hall. “Sean?” she mouthed
to the priest and held up her camera. He nodded, and she
followed the other woman.
stopped outside the door and took a deep breath before she
pushed it open. Sean turned from where he had been standing at
the window. Behind Kemara, JenniAnn took a quick photo of the
groom’s stunned reaction before she slipped away.
part, the couple never noticed her.
walked up to Kemara, but made no move to embrace her as she
had expected. She searched his face worriedly.
a hand, but let it hover in the air. “It’s just...you’re
so beautiful, I’m afraid to touch you.”
She put her own hand on his cheek. “Of course you can. I won’t
he wrapped his arms around her. ‘I don’t want to mess up your
hair or anything. I love the little Celtic knots.”
sighed and relaxed into his embrace. “It’s got so much spray,
I don’t think that’s possible, but I wouldn’t care if you did.
And I’m going to get makeup on your suit.”
shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. Did you sleep?” He rested his chin
on the top of her head and swayed slightly.
Warren and I sat up working the scrapbook and talking to
Joshua - in my head, I mean. He wasn’t there physically.”
chuckled. “I hope we’ll see him physically today.”
we will. What about you? How did you sleep?” She pulled away
and smoothed back a lock of red hair that fell stubbornly over
his forehead. “I’m so glad you’re wearing your sword pin.”
like a good day for it.” He shrugged. “I talked to Joshua for
a while too, but I did manage to get a few hours.” He stepped
back. “Let me look at you.”
turned slowly so he could admire the dress from all angles,
then lifted the hem to show off her shoes with their matching
her around again and ran one finger down her back where a
silver ribbon laced the bodice closed. “Very nice….much easier
to undo than buttons,” he teased putting his arms around her
again. One hand fell to her waist, and he chuckled.
that’s what the brooch was for!” He toyed with it. “But it’s
kinda low, don’t you think?”
Kemara captured his hand and brought it to her lips. “Quit it!
The last thing we need is for Father Mike to come in and find
“Excited?” Sean suggested innocently. “But we are, right? I’m
very excited to be marrying you.”
her over to a chair and pulled her onto his lap. “Here, let’s
sit. Might be the last alone time we have until tonight.”
that for?” He tightened his hold.
I’m a little….not scared exactly...but overwhelmed. Not just
about today, but all of it.”
We’ll figure it all out. We’re a good team, remember?”
laughed. “That’s true.”
in silence for a few minutes, enjoying the quiet.
sighed. “Nice as this is, I’m sure people will start arriving
soon. Why don't we pray before we go out there?”
another long silence while they waited for each other to
remember what Emma told you at Bible study the other night?”
Sean said gently. “It's just like having a conversation with
“I know -
and I did that this morning just fine. You start, and I'll
shrugged. “Hey, Joshua! Today's the day and -”
need to include Maryam and Yosef in this conversation, too!”
right. Joshua, do you guys have a party line?”
grinned as the sound of Joshua’s laughter echoed in their
when he does that,” Kemara said.
hugged her closer. “Me too. Anyway…”
Maryam and Yosef, we just want to say thank you for being with
us as we’ve journeyed to this day, and we know you’ll be with
us as we continue on together.
squeezed his hand and continued. “Help us to follow your
example of love and sacrifice, and teach us how to keep the
Father at the center of our relationship.”
you so much for all the family and friends you’ve surrounded
us with over the past year. Their love and support has meant
so much to both of us.” Sean glanced at Kemara. “And last, but
definitely not least, thank you for my beautiful bride. I
promise to try to love her as much as you do.”
came to Kemara’s eyes and she blinked them back quickly. It
was a moment before she could speak. “Joshua, thank you so
much for bringing Sean into my life. A year ago, I couldn’t
have pictured this day, but you did. Help me to always
remember this feeling of being loved completely.”
and Yosef,” Sean continued. “The two of you are the best
example of what a marriage can be. And I hope we can do half
as well as you’ve done.”
took a deep breath. “And...if it’s not too much to ask, we’d
really love to see all of you today. Umm...in person, I mean.”
this in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.” Sean concluded.
so nice! But I guess we’d better - .”
a soft knock on the door and Andrew appeared around it, camera
in hand. He snapped a picture, and Kemara laughed.
I need to get used to people doing that today!”
of death smiled. “Yup, and we’ll get the whole ceremony on
video too. I’m sorry to interrupt, but your parents just got
Kemara on her feet, and held out a hand. “Let’s go play host
gosh! Look at you two!” Megan said when the couple returned to
the narthex. “You look stunning, my dear.”
about me?” Sean asked indignantly.
patted him on the back. “Well, if you’d agreed to wear a kilt,
you might have the ladies looking at you, but since you
tried!” Kemara said amid the laughter.
eyes were full as he gazed at her. “You look real nice.”
Joyce said. “She’s gorgeous!”
tears in her own eyes, Kemara hugged them both while Andrew
snapped another photo.
should go,” Sean said gently.
be too chilly in here?” she asked as they swung the double
doors open wide.
shook his head. “Most people will just take a bulletin and go
on in the sanctuary. And it looks like we got out here just in
Wilson family was coming up the walk. Zeke and Sy wore gray
suits with navy ties, while Diana and the girls wore navy
cool!” Hailey said when she saw them. “I didn’t know this was
laughed and hugged her. “Apparently this used to be tradition
before people started making the bride more important than the
we’re going to hear that question a lot today,” Sean joked, as
he hugged Diana.
think it’s a wonderful tradition.”
nodded. “I agree. As Father Mike said last night, you’re the
ministers today. It’s only right you should welcome your
so too,” Kemara said. “But I’m afraid both my grandmothers
would be scandalized if they were here!”
patted her arm. “I’m sure they’re very happy for you.”
Wilsons, came Adam, Kylie, Clay, Edward and Caleb.
saw Kemara, Adam dropped to one knee and proclaimed. “Shall I
compare thee to a summer’s day?”
Kemara blushed. “Oh, stop it!”
stood up and hugged her. “Hey, when it’s true, it’s true. We
dropped the cake off at Willowveil, but we’ve got the flowers
in the car.”
thank you! I think Father Mike’s just inside so he can tell
you where to put them.”
next in line. “The dress looks even lovelier on you than it
did in the pictures.”
Peter and Emma,” Clay said.
around the front doors grew as Elaine and several people from
Kemara and Sean’s dance class also arrived. Everyone exclaimed
over seeing the bridal couple outside where they could be seen
had all gone inside, Sean drooped. “Whew! I’m beginning to
think we should’ve gotten one of the kids to hold a sign so we
don’t have to keep explaining ourselves.”
thought you liked being a rebel!” Kemara ran a hand over her
hair, checking that the increasing wind hadn’t messed it up
“I do! I
just get tired of having to explain myself.” He caught
sight of someone over her shoulder. “Kemara….”
turned to see three people coming up the walk.
Yosef and John…” She started down the steps and stumbled in
her heels. Sean just managed to catch her before she fell.
she flung her arms around Maryam. “I’m so glad you’re all
here!” She hugged Yosef and John in turn. Maryam kissed Sean’s
cheek and the men shook hands.
not have missed it!” Maryam brushed away a tear that
threatened to ruin Kemara’s mascara. “You look beautiful, my
dear. The two of you are happy, yes?”
an arm around Kemara’s waist. “A little nervous, but yeah,
chuckled. “Ah, I remember that feeling well.” He smiled at
them. “You do not ask, but yes, Yeshu is here. He will speak
with you later.”
when you least expect it, if I know my cousin,” John said,
Kemara sighed. “I mean, I know he’s here, but I do want to see
kissed the top of her head. “Me too.”
guest to arrive stood unnoticed at the back of the sanctuary.
He sighed happily as the bridal couple entered from the side
chapel and laid a bouquet of spring flowers on a shelf beneath
Owen’s painting of the Holy Family. They stood with bowed
heads for a moment, and then returned the way they had come.
Three members of the congregation glanced at him and smiled.
voices drew his attention to a nearby doorway where the
procession was getting into order. He studied each of the
beloved faces, one at a time remembering their pasts and
anticipating their futures.
saw that all was ready, Andrew rose and walked to the ambo.
“Good morning. On behalf of Sean and Kemara I want to thank
everyone for being here this morning to share in their special
day. Please stand and join in singing the processional hymn,
number 548, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”
noticed looks of surprise from the congregation as they saw
the bridal couple being escorted by their parents down the
wedding party had been seated, Father Mike said, “Good
morning. Friends, we are gathered here today to witness the
marriage of Kemara and Sean. Let us call upon God to be with
us today as we celebrate this union of two into one."
attentive to our prayers, oh Lord, and in your kindness pour
out your grace on these your servants Kemara and Sean, so that
coming together before your altar, they may be confirmed in
love for one another. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.”
stood near JenniAnn and Andrew as Owen rose and made his way
to the ambo.
are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel and the house of Judah…” he read from
around the sanctuary, the Guest thought of the community he
had begun to build in a rundown theater. It had flourished
just as he had hoped, and he knew today’s celebration was only
the first of many.
recited the sacred words along with Owen: “I will place my law
within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their
God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have
need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the
Lord. All, from least to greatest, shall know me.”
Zeke’s voice rose, strong and clear as he sang.
the Lord with me.
let us praise his name.
the Lord and he answered me;
my terrors he set me free.”....
smiled at her husband and she took his place.
brothers and sisters,
is true, whatever is honorable,
is just, whatever is pure,
is lovely, whatever is gracious,
is any excellence
there is anything worthy of praise,
about these things.
doing what you have learned and received
and seen in me.
God of peace will be with you.”
grown increasingly restless. When everyone stood to hear the
Gospel, Andrew set her on the floor.
be fine,” he whispered to JenniAnn as Father Mike began to
read about the wedding feast at Cana.
the Guest followed the toddler’s staggering steps around the
church. Those who noticed her only smiled. When she reached
the front row, Belle made her way over to Kemara and Sean and
held out her arms to be picked up. Sean lifted her, and looked
back at JenniAnn and Andrew. Andrew was starting down the side
aisle, but Sean shook his head.
congregation sat again, Sean settled Belle between himself and
Kemara where she seemed content.
turned back and retrieved his camera. Quietly, he moved up to
the front of the church, and snapped a photo of the trio
before returning to his seat.
stood beside Father Mike as the priest began to speak.
saw Kemara and Sean honor Jesus, Mary, and Joseph by laying
flowers in front of our beautiful painting of them. Their
choice to honor and remember the three as a family struck me
as particularly poignant on this day, the beginning of
Kemara's and Sean's married life. I know many of you here have
helped, advised, and encouraged them as they began their
journey together. We were definitely not alone in that effort!
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph have been walking alongside our couple
during these past months and I hope... and know... Kemara and
Sean will continue looking to them for guidance. In their life
together, Mary and Joseph exemplified many virtues that are so
important to a happy marriage.”
leaned against Kemara with a thumb in her mouth. The bride put
an arm around her goddaughter and hugged her close.
noticed how Sean couldn’t help glancing at the pair even as he
listened to Father Mike. He heard the groom’s prayer that he
and Kemara would have children of their own. And soon, please?
all, it may take a little work of the ol' imagination but I
have to think that Mary and Joseph valued honest
communication,” Father Mike was saying. “We read in the Gospel
that Joseph intended to quietly divorce Mary after hearing she
was with child. That had to hurt Mary a lot. I
can't imagine Joseph was feeling too great, either.
Thankfully, for all of us!, the Archangel Gabriel intervened
and, with a message from God, brought the two together.
It's not in the Bible but I have to believe that after Joseph
came running back to Mary, they talked. A lot. I'm
sure Joseph listened, with tears in his eyes, as Mary told him
how his abandonment made her feel. I'm pretty confident
she got awfully choked up herself when he confessed how
distraught he was about the idea of losing her. It
couldn't have been an easy conversation but I'm sure it's one
they knew was necessary and that they came out of it closer
than ever. So, Sean and Kemara, remember that after
you've had a disagreement or hurt each other. There's a
lot of healing in talking, in being heard. Even if your
conversation starts out awkward or angry, that's okay!
Keep talking. There's a reason our God calls Himself the
Word. Words are so, so important! Share them with
shifted uncomfortably on the wooden pew. Hoping to distract
her, Sean took off the sword pin from his lapel and showed it
to her. Kemara leaned over and glared at him.
else am I supposed to do?” he mouthed back.
Mike smiled at the byplay and continued: “Once they were
reunited, Mary and Joseph had a crash course on trust: in each
other and in God. They probably weren't the two most
popular people in Nazareth at this point. You have to
imagine the snickers, the stares, the people who turned away
as soon as they made eye contact... And they'd barely
had time to deal with that before they found out they needed
to head to Bethlehem! If ever there's a test of a
relationship, it's a road trip! But off they went, two
newlyweds, their donkey, and a soon-to-be-born baby. How
easy would it have been for Joseph to bolt during that
journey? Maybe disappear in Jerusalem? But he
didn't. In fact, I'm sure the thought never once entered
his mind. And Mary knew that. And I believe Joseph
knew that there was no other man she would have wanted with
her in those difficult days. How wonderful it must have
felt to know someone else trusted them so much and was so
dedicated to them! I hope, in the years ahead, you know
the security of such a bond, Kemara and Sean!”
was watching the bridal couple and saw the exact moment it
happened. Belle’s face scrunched up, and Sean sniffed the air
suspiciously. Kemara tried to discretely catch Andrew or
JenniAnn’s attention, but they were too far in the back to
notice. At last, she shrugged and sat back. Sean leaned away
from Belle and made “hurry up!” motions to Father Mike.
Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph faced a true test of their
faith. Their baby was coming! And they weren’t at
home! And there was no family nearby! All they had
was each other and God. They trusted Him to supply them
with shelter and He did... a lowly stable but a shelter
nonetheless. They prayed unceasingly as Mary labored and
then there He was: the One who stood at the center of their
faith and the faith of their mothers and fathers.
Jesus. From the moment He was born, Mary and Joseph
nurtured and loved Him and turned to God the Father to protect
Him and them. And, once again, the Father came
through. He sent Gabriel with another message: “Flee to
Egypt.” Mary and Joseph never stopped listening for
God’s voice and heeding His will and, because of that, Jesus
was spared. It might have seemed a little insane to
Joseph and likely to Mary, too, when he told her. But
they went. So remember that, Kemara and Sean. God
may lead you to places you never expect to go... maybe don’t
want to go... but if you trust in Him, you may just find that
you’re in exactly the place you need to be.”
probably don’t believe that right now,” the Guest thought,
chuckling over Sean’s antics which had expanded to exaggerated
nose-holding. Father Mike fought to ignore him and get through
the last of his homily without laughing aloud. On the other
side of Belle, Kemara was bent double with giggles. Next to
Sean, Ivy and Brad had quickly noticed what was going on.
gestured, and Sean passed Belle to Ivy who passed her to Brad
at the end of the pew. JenniAnn finally noticed them and
slipped quickly from her seat with Belle’s diaper bag over her
shoulder. She walked to the back of the church and waited,
ready to grab her daughter as soon as the priest’s homily was
rest of their lives together; Jesus, Mary, and Joseph gave
each other unconditional, agapic love. Mary and Joseph
sacrificed nearly everything of the life they knew to raise
their son in safety. Without the support of family, it’s
quite likely that both Mary and Joseph had to work even harder
to support themselves and make a home. But they didn’t
keep score. They didn’t begrudge each other the
sacrifices they each made. They simply loved each other
and, together, they raised a Son who would love the whole
world until His last breath and beyond. If you take no
other lesson from their lives, please take that one.
Don’t be afraid to love each other without limits, Kemara and
Sean! After all, it’s how God loves us.”
congregation stood to recite the Creed, JenniAnn hurried down
the aisle, took Belle from Brad and carried her out through
the side chapel.
and Sean took their places in front of Father Mike. The Guest
stood between them with a hand on each one’s shoulder.
and Sean, you have come together here today so that the Lord
may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of the
Church's minister and this community of your family and
friends. In this way you will be strengthened to keep mutual
and lasting faith with each other and to carry out the other
duties of marriage. And so, in the presence of the church this
community of your family and friends, I ask you to state your
and Sean have you come here freely and without reservation to
give yourselves to each other in marriage? Will you love and
honor each other as husband and wife for the rest of your
lives? Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring
them up according to the Law of Love and Compassion?”
questions were answered with a firm, “Yes,” from both.
is your intention to enter into marriage, with your hands
joined declare your consent before God and his Church, this
community of your family and friends.”
turned to face one another and clasped hands. Father Mike
smiled at the Guest, and continued.
you take Kemara for your lawful wife, to have and to hold,
from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for
poorer, in sickness and in health all the days of your life?”
Sean’s expression was tender as he gazed at Kemara.
do you take Sean for your lawful husband, to have and to hold,
from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for
poorer, in sickness and in health all the days of your life?”
blinked back tears - of emotion this time instead of laughter.
declared your consent before the Church and this community of
your family and friends. May the Lord in his goodness
strengthen your consent and fill you with his blessings.”
Father Mike made the sign of the cross. “What God has joined
together, let no one separate.”
Brad came to stand on either side of the bridal couple. Ivy
took Kemara’s bouquet of white Easter lilies. Liam rose and
carried the wooden bowl with the rings over to Brad who
presented it to Father Mike.
bless and consecrate Kemara and Sean in their love and
compassion for each other. May these rings be a symbol of true
faith they share in each other and always remind them of their
love and compassion. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”
fumbled a bit - deliberately, Kemara thought - with her rings,
drawing chuckles from their family and friends. At last, he
had the interlocking bands connected and slid them onto her
this ring with my love and fidelity.”
much easier, just a solid gold band engraved with the claddagh
symbol for friendship, love and loyalty.
this ring with my love and fidelity.”
stand for the nuptial blessing,” Father Mike said. Kemara and
Sean knelt as he recited:
pray to the Lord for Kemara and Sean who come here at the
beginning of their married life so that they may always be
united in love for each other.
Father, you created humankind in your own image and made man
and woman to be joined as husband and wife in union of body
and heart and so fulfill their mission in this world.
grant that as they begin to live this sacrament they may share
with each other the gifts of your love and become one in heart
and mind as witnesses to your presence in their marriage. Help
them to create a home together.
blessing to Kemara, your daughter, so that she may be a good
wife, caring for the home, faithful in love for her husband,
generous and kind.
blessing to Sean, your son, so that he may be a good husband,
caring for the home, faithful in love for his wife, generous
grant that as they come together to your table on earth, they
may one day have the joy of sharing your feast in heaven. We
ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
and Monica took turns presenting the prayers of the faithful.
Kemara and Sean as they begin their married life together, may
they always know Your presence in good times and in bad. Let
us pray to the Lord.”
their families, may they be good examples of love and
faithfulness as they support Kemara and Sean in their
marriage. Let us pray to the Lord.”
those here present, may we find Christ's love for us mirrored
in Kemara's and Sean's love for each other. Let us pray to the
JenniAnn and Andrew - carrying a now clean Belle - brought up
the bread and wine for Communion.
though the offertory hymn they had chosen, “Come to the
Feast,” was one of her favorites, Kemara couldn’t sing. She
clung to Sean’s hand and concentrated on the cool metal of his
ring against her fingers. She was in such a daze of happiness
that she missed the beginning of the Our Father, and Sean had
to pull her to her feet.
took Communion, Kemara thought she caught a glimpse of Joshua
behind Father Mike, but when she looked again, he wasn’t
she knew it, Father Mike was beckoning them forward to face
the congregation and asking everyone to “Bow your heads and
pray for God’s blessings.”
almighty God, with his Word of blessing, unite your hearts in
the never ending bond of pure love.”
children bring you happiness, and may your generous love for
them be returned to you, many times over.”
Spirit of Love live always in your hearts and in your home.
May you have true friends to stand by you, both in joy and in
sorrow. May you be ready and willing to help and comfort all
who come to you in need. And may the blessings promised to the
compassionate be yours in abundance.”
find happiness and satisfaction in your work. May daily
problems never cause you any undue anxiety, nor the desire for
earthly possessions dominate your lives. But may your heart's
first desire be always your compassionate presence toward each
Lord bless you with many happy years together, so that you may
enjoy the rewards of a good life.”
Almighty God bless each and every one of us, the Father, and
the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Mike held out a hand. “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Mr.
and Mrs. Sean McCallum.”
went up as Kemara and Sean shared their first kiss as husband
sorry!” JenniAnn said coming over to them in the narthex once
the crush of well-wishers had thinned a bit.
hugged her. “It’s OK! Sean was cracking me up, though. I was
so afraid I was going to bust out laughing in the middle of
Father Mike’s homily.”
looked at him curiously. “Why? What were you doing?”
my nose and motioning to him to hurry up!” He demonstrated.
laughed. “I don’t blame you then!”
I’d gotten video of that, but I had no idea anything was going
on,” Andrew said coming over with Belle.
think anyone did except for us, Father Mike, Brad and Ivy,”
Kemara said. “Like I said it’s OK, and it certainly made for a
memorable wedding. Did you get back in time for our vows?” she
I did get to see Sean nearly drop the rings!”
couldn’t decide if he was faking or really that nervous,”
Elaine said. “And I know he’s not clumsy.”
snorted. “Well he picked out my rings so he has no one to
blame but himself.”
get a picture of you two out front?” Elaine asked. “I want to
put it on the wall in the studio.”
well get the rest of the wedding party,” Sean suggested.
called, “Kemara and Sean would like the wedding party out
front for pictures, please!”
Sean whispered as the crowd poured out the front doors. “You
mean we can get anything we want today?”
they were surprised to hear the noise of bands and crowds only
a few streets away.
laughed. “The parade! I’m surprised we didn’t hear it inside
you can,” Father Mike said. “I’ve had to cancel morning Mass
every year St. Patrick’s Day falls in a weekday because it’s
shrugged. “Guess we got lucky and the wind was blowing the
other way this year.”
Friends of Joshua exchanged smiles. They knew luck had nothing
to do with it.
“I’d love to get a photo of you in the stone circle at
Skellig,” Sean said after they arrived back at Willowveil.
“Your dress is perfect for it.”
sighed. “I love that idea, but it would keep everyone waiting
too long. Maybe for our first anniversary, though.”
Andrew approached them. “Where do you want to start?”
get the group pictures first so everyone else can go on to the
ballroom while we finish up,” Kemara suggested.
and I will take the other children there now,” Monica said.
“Max and Rose set up a play area for them, and Henry offered
to make balloon animals. Wee Jacob and some of the Tunnel
children are here, too.”
Sean told her. “We’ll send Liam and Kelly along as soon as
we’re done with them.”
you stand on the gazebo steps with the others to either side,”
some photos of the entire wedding party, they took a few with
Liam and Kelly together and with Kemara and Sean.
you guys! You’re done! Kelly, Liam knows where to go.”
little boy nodded and raced off with Kelly close behind.
and Brad,” Max said. “Oh, and somebody go get Sy. We need to
get some of him and Ivy, too.”
winked at her.
with Kemara and Sean’s parents followed.
and Sean, is there anywhere in particular you want inside?”
glanced at her mother remembering their conversation of a week
before. “I thought Joshua’s room might be nice.”
nodded. “Yeah, the light’s good in there with the balcony and
smiled, knowing that the light was only one reason they had
chosen that location. “Sounds good. I’ll go up with you.”
several photos in the peaceful room, and before they left,
Kemara removed three lilies from her bouquet and placed them
the vase which sat on the dresser.
lovely!” Kemara stopped in the doorway and looked at the scene
tables were ranged around the perimeter of the ballroom
leaving plenty of space for dancing. Each was covered with a
navy cloth and had a silver vase with white lilies in the
great,” Sean agreed, but he was gazing at the buffet tables
which held a variety of biscuits, quiche, fruit, pastries,
sandwiches, juice and milk.
shook her head. “I think as long as there was food, you guys
wouldn’t care what the place looked like.”
I’d be too busy looking at you anyway.”
comeback, but you’re a liar.”
not! Do I look like I’m lying?” He pouted.
“Definitely, “Megan said tartly. “I know that face.”
smirked. “Oh, good. I’ll memorize it for later.”
going to find Brad and Adam...they’re more fun than you
two…..” Sean grumbled.
and Father Mike walked to the center of the room.
I think Father Mike’s about to give the blessing, and then you
can stuff your face.”
could have everyone’s attention?” Andrew called. When the
crowd had quieted down, he continued. “Thanks. First I think
we need to give a shout out to Violeta who organized
everything today including choosing the decorations, and Max
and Rose who came over early to get everything set up.”
got a brunch buffet courtesy of Adrian’s with lots of
delicious looking food that I can’t wait to try,” Andrew went
on. “You’ll find a mimosa station for the grown-ups and milk
and juice for the little people. If you get tired of dancing,
Kylie and Clay have set up a photo booth in the corner. Choose
your props and signs and get crazy! We’ve got a small printer
if you want to take them home with you. And you’re welcome to
wander outside for those pics, too. For the kids, the playroom
is open with plenty of things to do, and Henry has offered to
create some of his amazing balloon animals.”
some cheers, and Henry bowed modestly.
going to turn this over to Father Mike for the blessing so we
can all get to eating. Oh, Kemara and Sean will have their
first dance in just a little while so don’t miss that.”
about the cake?” someone called. Kemara thought it was Sy, but
she wasn’t sure.
up a hand. “The cake will make its appearance in due time.
Excellence cannot be rushed.”
means I’m going to give a very long and complicated blessing,”
Father Mike joked.
you want to eat,” someone mumbled but not loud enough for the
priest to hear. A chuckle ran around the room.
Father, Lord of all Creation, we gather to celebrate the love
and commitment of Kemara and Sean as they share their first
meal together as husband and wife. We thank You for giving
Your Holy blessing today upon their marriage, and ask that You
continue to bless them with Your love and mercy throughout
their lives together. Let this be the first of many loving
meals shared together with their family and friends, and
blessed by Your amazing grace. We ask for Your Holy blessing
upon this meal as together we say: Bless us, oh Lord, and
these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy
bounty; through Christ our Lord, Amen.”
everyone’s surprise, Sean stepped forward and took the mic.
“Before we eat, Kemara and I want to say happy anniversary to
JenniAnn and Andrew on this St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve been
living in Dyeland for a while now, and one of the first things
I noticed was how the two of you - and Willowveil - are the
center of life here. This world spins around you, and we’re so
grateful for all you do. So we wish you many more happy years
together with this family you’ve created.”
cheers were deafening as the group surrounded a pleased
JenniAnn and Andrew to offer their congratulations.
bride and groom need to go first,” Peter said waving Kemara
and Sean toward the food.
last!” Sean hurried over, pulling Kemara after him. The others
laughed and followed them.
put some fruit and a slice of quiche on her plate. “Where
should we sit?” she asked Violeta
chairs are marked,” the angel said. “You'll see them.”
laughed. “I think I found them, Kemara.” At one table, two
chairs had been tied together. A white ampersand hung from the
clever!” Kemara set down her plate while Sean pulled out both
chairs for them.
you want to drink?” he asked once she was seated.
mimosa...peach and strawberry, I think.”
for a Georgia peach. You got it.”
smiled as she put down her plate. “I bet you’ve heard that
more times than you can count.”
people say things about you being Southern up here?” Keith
shrugged. “Sometimes. Usually I just get asked to repeat
myself. And back home they say I talk fast for a Southerner!”
her mother said, joining them. “Your dad and I used to say
it’s because you read so fast.”
chuckled. “We finally gave up trying to control it” He turned
to Megan and Keith. “We have pictures of her looking through
Reader’s Digest when she was five.”
likes murder mysteries,” Kemara said. “We spent the last two
days unpacking boxes. I loved looking through old pictures of
him,” she told Megan and Keith.
“He was a
scamp!” Keith said.
lies are you telling about me now?” Sean asked. He set a glass
in front of Kemara “Here you go. And an orange one for me.”
reached for the drink, Kemara hesitated.
worry. I didn’t put much champagne in it,” Sean said quietly
so the others couldn’t hear. “Just in case.”
smiled at him. “Thanks.”
you like living in Dyeland, Sean?” David asked. “You haven’t
been here long, Kemara said.”
great! I still don’t think I’ve seen half of the place,
though. JennAnn says it’s as big as Disneyworld, but it feels
even larger than that.”
don’t you ever feel….” Joyce searched for the right word.
“It’s just, from what I’ve seen it’s not like living in a
neighborhood or even an apartment building with your neighbors
all around you.”
shook her head. “Each family has their own lives. We don’t see
each other every single day, but we have Bible study once a
week and family dinners every month. Plus, some of us work
nodded. “And we all just get along,” he added. “I guess it’s
because we were all sort of hand-picked. We like being
“Hand-picked by God,” Joyce said bluntly.
looked down at her plate, wishing so badly that their parents
knew about Joshua. Maybe someday. She looked around for
Maryam, Yosef and John but couldn’t find them in the sea of
seemed to guess her thoughts. “You’re not eating,” he scolded.
smiled at him. “Not as hungry as I thought I was.”
He took a
strawberry from her plate and held it up. “Then I guess I’ll
have to help. Open up.”
stared into his green eyes hearing the unspoken ‘I dare you’.
She leaned forward and delicately bit into the fruit, leaving
him holding the leaves. A few people clapped.
looked so surprised that their parents laughed. “Didn’t expect
that did you, Son?” Keith chuckled.
I can’t say I mind being bested,” He grinned. “Oh, I think
this is us.”
was heading in their direction. “I think most people are just
about done eating,” He said. “Are you two ready to hit the
and Sean looked at each other.
I’m tired of sitting anyway.”
want to check out the photo booth.”
laughed. “OK. I’ll get it ready.”
song did you pick?” Megan asked as Kemara checked her hair and
smoothed down her dress.
smiled. “You’ll see.”
went over to the stereo and cued up a song. He picked up the
microphone and spoke. “If I could have your attention? Kemara
has a few words to say before she and Sean have their first
quieted, and Kemara took the mic from him.
you. This morning has been so wonderful, and we just want to
thank all of you for making it so special.” She blinked back
tears, and Sean put an arm around her. “The song we’ve picked
is called ‘The Neverending Road’. As I was getting ready this
morning, I realized that our family here in this room is like
a never-ending Celtic knot - all twisted together and looping
back on itself.”
on the ‘twisted’,” Sean joked lightly and everyone chuckled.
smiled. “Only sometimes! I spent last night thinking back over
the past six months - the past year, really - and I’m so
amazed at what God has done. Sean and I have both said how
glad we are that we listened when a Dear Friend gave us a push
at last year’s St. Patrick’s Day party.” She wiped away a
tear. “So this is for Joshua. We love you, we know you’re here
with us all in spirit.”
started the music, and a haunting melody began. Sean and
Kemara walked to the center of the floor and began to dance.
now leads onward
As far as
hedgerows in threes
lead to you
no journey's end
my heart and I give it to you
with you across this land
my dreams, so simple and few
hold in the palm of our hands
bells they all toll
all around me
you still here
mystery to fear
now leads onward
I feel in
will be there
a storm comes
journey goes on
love ever nears
my heart and I give it to you
with you across this land
my dreams, so simple and few
hold in the palm of our hands
sound of the bagpipes faded, Kemara and Sean shared a kiss.
applause, she walked over to David and held out a hand.
Smiling he took it, and she led him on the floor as LeeAnn
Womack’s “I Hope You Dance,” began.
blinked back tears as she watched them make up for that long
ago prom night.
you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. I
hope you dance…..”
song finished, David and Kemara were both in tears.
Megan out on the floor to “Sunrise, Sunset” from “Fiddler on
the Roof”. Kemara had finally spotted Maryam and Yosef at a
corner table with Adam, Eli, Arthur and Monica. The Davidsons
exchanged knowing smiles at the words, “Swiftly fly the years,
one season following another, laden with happiness and tears.”
let’s go play,” Sean said, coming back over to Kemara as more
people got up for second helpings or to dance themselves.
tried out the photo booth. Kylie and Clay had gathered an
impressive selection of props from cowboy hats - Kemara
suspected Caleb and Edward had donated those - clown noses,
wooden mustaches on sticks, fairy wings, capes, and bow ties.
Kemara found a huge, green leprechaun hat, while Sean donned a
red feather boa and a harlequin mask. On a sign, Kemara wrote
“Finally!’ in bright green chalk.
“Perfect!” Kylie snapped the picture. “Now try this,” she
suggested as they tossed their props back in the box. Clay
held up a large picture frame - minus the glass as Kemara and
wait to see everyone’s photos!” Kemara said, as they stepped
aside to let Ivy and Sy have a turn.
been really popular. We let the kids go first while we were
waiting for you get done with the formal pictures. They had a
chuckled. “I hope they haven’t worn Henry out yet.”
think he’s indestructible,” Clay said.
see,” Kemara suggested. “I’ve only heard about his balloon
found Henry in the playroom surrounded by Sean’s nieces and
nephews, Liam and eight or nine Tunnel children including
Jacob and Shelby. JenniAnn held Belle on her lap. The
toddler’s brown eyes were wide as she watched the angel twist
and turn the bright balloons into fantastic shapes. In one
chubby hand she clutched a purple butterfly.
saw them, Henry only nodded and went on with his storytelling.
As they watched, he twisted and shaped until a few minutes
later he presented Kemara with a Siamese cat.
has blue eyes!” she laughed. “Thank you, Henry.” She kissed
his cheek, making him blush.
about me?” Sean asked.
thought for a minute and selected more balloons. The more
nervous children put their hands over their ears, expecting a
bang when one broke.
popped any yet?” Kemara whispered to JenniAnn.
Must be an angel thing.”
Henry fastened the last balloon, used a sharpie to make some
marks and presented the result to Sean.
guitar!” he said, delighted. He struck a pose and played a few
riffs on the red and black “instrument.” He clapped Henry on
the back. “Awesome! Thanks!”
smiled and returned to his tale of Noah’s ark, already working
on what Kemara thought might be some sort of fish.
use something else to drink,” Sean said when they were out in
the hall again. Hand in hand they walked back to the ballroom
only to meet Emma and Peter coming out.
you are!” Emma said. “We were just coming to look for you.
Adam says it’s time for the cake to make its grand entrance.”
know what it looks like?” Peter asked as the four of them
looked around for the angel of death.
shook her head. “No. We just told him we wanted lemon.”
“I bet he
comes up with something great,” Sean said. “And I believe I
have been promised a cake as well…”
bringing it out with the main one,” Kemara said as the angel
of death, looking very dapper in his pale gray suit, picked up
and gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for has
arrived. I present two culinary masterpieces for your
enjoyment.” He waved a hand and Max and Rose pushed in two
wheeled carts each holding a cake.
were murmurs of appreciation from the crowd.
wedding cake was three-tiered, iced in white with an intricate
knotwork design in navy icing decorating the top and bottom
tiers. The middle tier had a claddagh in the center. The
topper was a white ceramic heart with a trinity knot inside.
walked closer to see the groom’s cake, Sean gasped. Adam had
recreated the bodhran Joshua had given Sean in perfect detail
- from the Celtic cross on the top, to the wood-grain sides
with their knotwork engraving and brass nails.
Adam….they’re wonderful!” Kemara hugged him. “Thank you so
they are,” Sean said, shaking his hand. “If you ever get tired
of being an angel of death, I think you’ve got a future as a
smiled. “That will never happen, but I’m glad you like them.”
brought a knife, and Kemara and Sean carefully cut a slice
together from the bottom tier of the bridal cake. Kemara held
out the fork for him, getting more icing on his nose than in
his mouth. Laughing, he returned the favor.
returned to their table and watched their guests. Most were in
line for cake, but the photo booth never stayed empty and
several people were dancing.
Ivy and Sy look good out there?” Kemara said watching the
young couple as they danced totally unaware of anyone else.
smiled. “Yeah. They’re good kids. I hope they can make it
Kemara sampled the groom’s cake - chocolate as promised with
cherry between the layers. “I feel bad I haven’t had a chance
to talk to Maryam, Yosef and John this whole time.”
they’re having fun.” Sean nodded over to the photo booth where
the trio were laughingly choosing props. Maryam put a bowler
hat on Yosef while he chose a pair of sunglasses for her. John
was tying a Superman cape round his shoulders.
tapered off and then a new song started. The ballroom doors
opened and a group of children danced in. They wore black
pants or skirts and shirts in various shades of green.
tell me ma when I go home, the boys won’t leave the girls
grownups laughed, clapped and sang along.
pulled my hair. They stole my comb. But that’s alright ‘til I
leaned over to Ciara and Brad who were standing nearby. “Isn’t
that your bunch?”
I guess some of the Tunnel kids, too?”
better be!” Brad joked. “I don’t think we have that many.”
nodded. “Yeah, Kemara’s been teaching them for about two years
now. Did you two know about this?”
Ciara shook her head. “Not a clue.”
whoever thought it up, it’s perfect,” Kemara said, grinning.
“We can’t have St. Patrick’s Day without dancing.”
children finished to great applause then headed for the cakes.
going to get some juice,” Kemara said.
noticed Keith waving at him from across the room. “OK, I’ll go
see what Mom and Dad want.”
poured herself a glass or orange juice and gazed out over the
crowd that filled the ballroom. Her friends and family mingled
in a happy tangle. She caught a glimpse of her mother deep in
conversation with Catherine. Her dad was with Arthur and
Andrew in a corner probably discussing some woodworking
project they could collaborate on.
looked down at her wedding band, now fitted snugly together
with the matching claddagh engagement ring. Only one thing -
or Person - was left to make the day perfect.
seen Him?” Sean had left his parents and come up behind her.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his chin on
the top of her head.
sighed and twined her fingers with his. “No. I keep looking.
Just a glimpse would be nice. I mean, I know He’s here, but….”
Sean was quiet for a minute. “Wanna go walk on the beach?”
to, but I don’t really want to make a scene,” she wrinkled her
nose. “Everybody clapping and throwing rice.”
released her. “I’ll handle it. Liam!” He motioned the boy over
and whispered to him. Liam nodded and slipped back through the
you planning?” Kemara asked, amused.
wait a -” He broke off at a resounding crash from the other
side of the ballroom. People broke off their conversations and
hurried to see what had happened.
on!” Sean grabbed Kemara’s hand. They raced out a side door
and down the path, giggling.
glanced up from where she was gathering the - thankfully empty
and unbreakable - plates Liam had scattered during his
diversion, and caught sight of the couple through one of the
huge windows. She smiled.
A walk on the beach
Liam didn’t break anything,” Kemara said once they were out of
sight of the castle and had slowed down to a walk.
laughed. “Nah, I think JenniAnn used the Corelle. My mom has
that same pattern so I recognized it.”
This has been such a wonderful day, I’d hate to think we
spoiled it at the very end.”
makes you think the day’s over?” He looked down at her. “Still
plenty of light left.”
sure we can think of something to….”
came over the hill, they made out a figure sitting on the
porch steps with Warren in his lap. He caught sight of them
and stood up.
that?” Sean squinted against the sun reflecting off the water.
gasped. “Joshua!” She kicked off her shoes and picking up the
skirt of her dress raced down to the beach house. She threw
herself into Joshua’s arms so hard she nearly knocked him
really glad it’s only you she greets like that,” Sean said
ambling up a few minutes later. “Otherwise, I’d be jealous.”
raised her head from Joshua’s shoulder and wiped at her
streaming eyes. “Sorry. He’s my first love. You’re only second
Sean clutched at his chest. “Right to the heart!”
laughed. “Sean’s snark has rubbed off on you, little one.”
trying!” Sean grinned. He sobered and blinked back tears. “I’m
really glad you’re here.”
reached out and enfolded both of them into his embrace for a
long moment. Then he released them and picked up something
lying on the steps.
you saw Ama, Abi and John earlier. They left this with me to
give to you Kemara.” He unfolded a woolen shawl in blue and
green plaid and draped it around her shoulders. “Perfect. It
matches the blue trim in your dress.”
the McCallum family tartan,” Sean said. “We’re Scots or Irish
depending on who you ask.”
ran a hand over the soft, heavy material. “Oh, it’s lovely! I
wish I had known so I could’ve thanked them at the reception.”
eyes twinkled. “Well, if you want to write a note, I’m sure it
would get to them.” He picked up something else. “Sean, this
is for you.”
unfolded the cloth which turned out to be a matching scarf.
“This is great! And I know we’ll use both of them on our
will.” Joshua grinned mischievously. “I can predict a few
sunny days, but it will be mostly rainy and cool. Perfect
weather for...getting acquainted.”
and Sean glanced at one another and blushed.
laughed. “Let’s walk for a bit. We’ll stay out of the water.”
He held out his hands. They each took one and they set off
down the beach.
enjoyed the ceremony,” he said after a comfortable silence. “I
was there you know, but you probably didn’t see me.”
thought I caught a glimpse of you out of the corner of my
eye,” Kemara admitted. “But when I turned to look there was
nodded. “Me too. But I think Father Mike saw you - during his
homily - didn’t he? He seemed to be looking at something - or
someone - at the back of the church.”
don’t think it was Sean’s antics about Belle’s….umm….scented
wandered around for a bit, but he saw me the whole time,”
Joshua said. “I thought the readings you chose were perfect,
even if no one else noticed the double meanings.”
everyone from the Bible study did,” Kemara said. “But yeah,
our parents wouldn’t have.” She sighed. “I wish they could
meet you - like this I mean.”
squeezed their hands. “Maybe someday. I’m not ruling it out,
so keep hoping!”
you’re both wondering about what I said at Christmas,” Joshua
said. “About next year not being like you imagine it. But
don’t worry. There will be hard times and wonderful times
ahead, as in any marriage.” He smiled. “Ama and Abi can
testify to that! Focus on your love for Me and the love you
have for each other, and you’ll get through anything. I
promise you that.”
will,” they murmured.
tonight -,” Joshua’s voice was teasing. “Don’t worry about
that either. Let whatever happens, happen. And if it doesn’t,
that’s OK too. Dad and I and the Spirit aren’t going to be
and Sean laughed, surprise easing some of the tension they had
released their hands to put an arm around each of their
shoulders. “That’s what I like to hear. We’d better go back
now. I think you have some visitors.”
turned around and started back the way they had come.
like you won’t have to write that thank you note after all,”
Joshua joked as they came around a bend and saw Maryam, Yosef
and John waiting in front of the beach house.
and Sean hurried to them.
brought you dinner and wine,” John said after a profusion of
hugs and thanks. “Joshua said neither of you ate much.”
wedding cake,” Yosef put in.
filled the freezer so you will have something when you return
from your trip,” Maryam finished.
Kemara blinked back yet more tears.
“Aww..thank you so much!”
that’s great,” Sean said. “Hey, can we get some photos with
all of you?”
grinned. “Of course!”
get my camera!” Kemara hurried inside and came back out with
her Nikon. “John will you do the honors?”
baptizer looked hesitant. “Is it like a cell phone? I
“Kinda….just turn this….and this knob...and press here to take
gathered in various configurations as John photographed,
growing in confidence as he did so.
Kemara said kissing his cheek as she took the camera from him.
“But I wish we could get one of all us - you included.”
smiled. “Dad can take one for us.”
and Sean looked at each other and laughed. “Sounds good to
me!” Sean said.
two, three!” Joshua said. An 8x10 photograph appeared in his
hand enclosed in a gilt frame with a knotwork border.
this mean God just took a selfie?” Sean wondered making them
it’s not like we haven’t done that before!” Joshua pointed
threw her arms around him, crying again, so Sean took the
frame from the Carpenter. “You’re awesome,” she stammered.
had calmed, Joshua gently released her. “We’ll say goodbye
now, so you can get on with the rest of your evening.” He
winked, and Kemara and Sean blushed again.
be returning to Willowveil for a while,” Maryam said. “I
believe there is still dancing…” She smiled at Yosef.
my feet will be very sore at the end of the night!” Yosef
grinned. “You know, Joshua, after meeting your folks, the
extra wine at Cana makes a lot more sense.”
did love a good wedding,” Joshua said, smiling at his parents.
just at Cana,” John put in. “I remember the time you….”
and laughing the group started back towards the castle.
and Sean watched until they were out of sight. Then, they
turned and looked at each other.
now?” Sean asked raising his eyebrows.
like a shower and a change of clothes,” Kemara said. “Then
dinner, and after that….” she let the sentence trail off.
kissed her. “After that, we’ll see.”
March 18, 2015
you guys have a good night?” Violeta asked at breakfast the
next morning. Only she, JenniAnn and Andrew were up yet. They
had been surprised when Kemara and Sean joined them; but the
couple explained that they wanted one last meal together
before they left on their honeymoon.
and Andrew exchanged stricken glances, but Kemara only smiled.
“Very good! I am pretty tired this morning….didn’t sleep
much.” She elbowed Sean in the ribs. “Because somebody
offended. “I do not snore!”
would you know? You were dead to the world!”
chuckled. “What time does your plane leave tonight?”
said Sean. “But we have to be at the airport three hours early
to get through security and all that fun stuff. I think we’ll
probably leave here about 4. Gonna be a long day.”
you mind if we drove you to the airport?” JenniAnn asked.
“Since your parents went back last night, you should have some
family to see you off on your honeymoon.”
smiled. “Awww….thanks! I talked to Mom this morning. She was
sorry to miss saying goodbye, but she understood why we
skipped out when we did.”
don’t think there were any hard feelings,” Sean said. “Thanks.
We appreciate it.”
yawned and stood up from the table. “I think I’m going to take
a little nap.”
come with you,” Sean stood up, too. “We’ll be back here about
3:30,” he told the others.
nodded. “Sounds good.”
smiled after them. “They look so happy,” she sighed.
they do.” JenniAnn agreed.
they stay like that for a long time.”
they’ll have times of happiness and sadness just like every
family does,” JenniAnn said.
Joshua’s help, they’ll manage.” Andrew said with a smile.
to the Author's Cut
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