Watching a wedding (no, not THAT one)

“Oh my goodness, she’s not here.”

There are moments where Susan’s absence is still shocking to me.  There are times when I suddenly say that phrase to myself, or even out loud.  I have to remind myself that she’s not on some long trip, getting ready to return safely home.  It’s those times that make me realize that, even though we are four months (wow, four months!) away from her death, the totality of this loss I haven’t nearly absorbed.

I’ve been watching a couple of videos this week.  My buddy John loaned me his VHS-DVD recorder, so I’ve been converting some old tapes.  (The kids hardly know what a VHS tape is.)  One is from 1995, our wedding.  Another is from the summer of 1998 – a trip Susan and I took to Maine.

It’s kind of funny that, with all of the hoopla of the royal wedding this week, the only one I wanted to watch was my own.  And this, more to get a glimpse of her again.  To remember not only her face, but how she moved, walked, looked at people, smiled.  Photos don’t necessarily capture those small, important things.  When I look at pictures of Susan, I tend to look not only at her face, but at things like how her arms rest around the kids, or how her hand holds mine, things like that.

I’ve probably watched the vacation one more, though.  We traded off narrating the video for our folks – this magical trip to beautiful Bar Harbor.

It’s amazing what you forget over the years.  Especially when you deal with something like cancer, which, as hard as you fight it, still attaches its ugliness to your life in ways that degrade and debilitate you.  Not only physically, but emotionally, mentally, relationally.  Like a hundred-pound backpack you have to carry every day.  It changes you, as much as you don’t want it to.  There are days when you look up and wonder, Now, who did I used to be?  Who did we used to be?   (Not unlike what sin does to us too, but that’s probably another post)

When I saw that video for the first time in thirteen years, the image of Susan on the screen synced up with what has been in my head.  In other words, this is how I remember her.  The video put a visual to my memory.  Smiling, laughing, care-free Susan; silly, self-deprecating, sweet, honest Susan.  Joltingly beautiful, and completely unaware of it.  It’s in her laugh, her funny comments, how relaxed she was.  The light that radiated from her face.

And sad to say, I don’t think I’d watched our wedding video for at least that long.  We just didn’t watch it every year on our anniversary or anything, but I wish we had.  Seeing the love we had for each other in our eyes, the love that never faded through any of this…it makes me feel blessed, grateful, and proud.  It reminds me how our relationship started, and what it was built on.  We were amazingly in love; we had so much in common, and laughed a lot; there was so much joy there; we respected one another immensely; and spiritually, we were in sync.  We both knew the Lord and wanted the other to grow, more than anything.

In marriages, in relationships, we forget why we are together.  Life happens, kids happen, a tragedy takes place, whatever…and plaque builds up on our hearts.  We forget what brought us together in the first place.  Maybe we should take more time to revisit what brought us together in the first place.  Spending time remembering why we love one another is time well-spent.  Go back to those places that remind us of those things.

I think it’s like that with God too.  We get busy and forget that the primary thing that defines our relationship with God is love.  He wants a joyful, love relationship with me.  But I let life get in the way, tragedy, questions, busyness, whatever – and then I wonder Now, what happened to my relationship with God?

In Revelation 2, the writer speaks to the church and basically says, “You’ve busied yourselves by doing some really good things.”  But then:

“I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”  (Rev 2:4)  

Any relationship with God is rooted in love.  His love for you.  Your love for Him.  There should be a joy, an innocence, a beauty, a wildness to it.

May you and I both discover – or in some cases, rediscover – our first love, in the God who first loved us.


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3 Responses to “Watching a wedding (no, not THAT one)”

  1. John Says:

    I have no interest in watching or hearing about a hyped-up make-believe pagentry wedding. Reading your words is hard but real. Give me real any day and everyday. Thanks for sharing about the video of your wedding. Thanks for helping me to stay in reality. Thanks for your blog posts.

  2. Charlotte Lennartz Says:

    I echo John’s words. Thanks you!

  3. Shayla LeDoux Says:

    That is such a beautiful blog post. Your family is in my prayers especially this weekend.

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