I helped in the wedding ceremony of a friend the other day.  The friend was the bride. She was a young woman who had been part of our church years ago as a teenager.  I had baptized her and over the years kept in distant touch.  She’s an amazing person.  High personality.  Great emotional intelligence.  Smart–she’s a ph d student at present.  Drop dead gorgeous.  Funny.  Well known and well connected.  Amazing.  They say “opposites attract” and I think the truism stands true. Her husband is deep, and quiet, and thoughtful.  He’s funny but not given to dominating the room.  Where she is gregarious he is gentle.

The big piece that prompts my post today was the emotions I saw register in the bride’s father as he walked her down the aisle.  As all eyes focused on the bride, I chose to zoom in on him.  He had a look of “mixed emotions”.  He was thrilled for his daughter, his first born.  But he was also giving up his first born, to a new dimension of life.  When the question came “who gives this woman in marriage today” his response was the expected “her mother and I do”.  But I knew, that it wasn’t just words.  It was a gift of his daughter to this young man.  And it was a gift of something precious.  There was a feeling of loss under all the joy of the day.

Here’s a thought for parents reading this post.  Do we ever really “own” our children?  Is it reasonable to think we “give” them up?  Or more accurately do we “look after” our children and in due time, “release them” to the stage of life called adulthood and with it marriage?  Either way it’s an emotional time when these things happen.