Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sweating

There are a week of posts about my Massachusetts trip, so let me get right at it. Baby brother got married Saturday in a lovely garden at Plimoth Plantation, though I was barely looking around. I was too busy wiping the sweat off my face. I have never dripped so profusely--it was ridiculous. And I was sitting in the shade! The day before, while walking at the harbor, when my sister-in-law saw me, she said, 'you're looking pretty red,' and I answered, 'maybe, but it'll turn to tan in no time.' I honestly thought it was merely sunburn.' But by the time we got back to the motel, I'd stopped sweating, and was more bright red in the face than I have ever been in my entire life, and suffering from heat exhaustion. Beve and older brother insisted I take a shower and lie down, my sister pumped me with H2O until I started peeing like a race-horse, (which took an inordinate amount of time) and I lay on my bed, dizzy every time I tried to stand up. So much for seeing the Mayflower or the Plantation. Fortunately all was not lost, it did allow our daughters, niece & sister-in-law the opportunity to shoe-shop!

And Saturday was even hotter. 102 degrees in the shade, where I was sitting. And now my body'd remembered how to sweat. Maybe making up for lost time. Sweating all the sweat from a life-time. And baby-brother in his suit (thankfully, not a tux, but just barely better in a navy blazer!) stood in the brilliant 110 degree sun sweating like a hog. My siblings and I sat and watched the drops on the back of his khaki pants. Poor guy. When he got to the air-conditioned reception (well, poorly air-conditioned, I should admit--the unit just wasn't built to cool weather so hot, with such terrible--60%--humidity), and took off his jacket, his royal blue shirt was completely dark with suit. Poor guy!

The wedding was beautiful. The setting was pastoral, elegiac. The words of the pastor were wise. The community was supportive--they were surrounded by family who absolutely love them (I am one of them who am always on their side), friends who will be in relationship with them through the agonies and ecstasies, and children who will delight and stretch them. And God above them who blesses them.

But that weather. Seriously. We think that if the sun shines all is well. "Happy is the bride that the sun shines on," is the old saying, right? But heat can kill you just as easily as extreme cold, snow or even thunder storms. We had thunder storms every night we were there and one night, our son and my brother were about two feet away from being hit by lightning, which, when you think about it, would have been quite a bummer for both my new sister-in-law and me!

The reality is that that heat on their wedding week-end might just be a good metaphor for living life together. There's a whole lot of heat when two people come together...and I'm not talking about the heat of passion. Okay people, get your minds out of the gutter! These two people who married on Saturday, they aren't people of snow, of coolness and ice. They are warm--thankfully. I like this about them. I love it about them. But it can get them into trouble. Shoot, I'm a person of summer myself. But God made them, like he did the Beve and me, with two different ways of doing life, two different mind-sets, two different wills that must surrender--first to God, then to each other. They have to learn to travel in the summer sun of life together, battle through the heat of what is sure to come. Sweat through it together. And know God is in it all. God married them on the hottest day of the year, and He saw that it was good. And it is good.

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