Father of the Groom

So, my son Caleb is getting married this Saturday… to his childhood sweetheart-Kali. Ten years of dating for committed believers is no small deal. I’m pretty sure if it were me in those shoes we would have eloped to Vegas and been married by an Elvis impersonator by the time I was 18…I’m just saying.

I don’t know if there is a less important role in the entire wedding event than the “father of the groom”. He gets nice seats, but that’s about it. If he’s lucky he gets to say a few words before the really expensive rehearsal dinner he gets to bankroll.Even the usher gets to walk some important people down the aisle. The guest book attendant at least has a job to do. The father of the groom just sits there and watches the father of the bride get all the important moments. Nobody is really lining up to have the first dance with the father of the groom.

But this father of the groom gets to do the ceremony. And so suddenly Saturday could become an out of body experience for me

I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to imagine what it’ll be like to stand up there. with my son, giving him the vows of commitment to love and protect this woman’s heart for the rest of his life. Geez, it seems like just last week I was trying to convince my shivering seven year old to honor his commitment to the summer swim team, even though the pool water was so cold he couldn’t make himself get in without crying.

I’ve been trying to imagine what it will be like to officially let go of my son. To let go of him being part ofus five, to let go of having him sleep in our home. To let go of our family vacations, holidays and family talks. I know this will all become something even more beautiful, because the family we are being joined to are dear friends who love God, us and our son in such a great way. …But before it is more beautiful it is loss.

I wonder if all sorts of images of Caleb growing up will flash in front of my eyes. Holding him in my arms as a baby, dancing around the living room to James Taylor,sitting in the dark in his room, lighting matches and making explosion sounds to simulate fireworks because the show we went to on that 4thof July night cancelled without telling anyone, riding down the Oregon coast on bicycles, together buying his first VW van, watching him win the state championship in the 800 meters as a sophomore, sitting with him over coffee as he described his dreams of going to seminary so he could maybe someday help take over teaching what he fears I may be getting to old to do.

I thought it was going to be an easy day. I mean, he’s a son, not a daughter. But as I write this I fear I’m a goner. I’m going to fall to the ground and start wailing and crying, “He’s too young. The boy’s not ready. I’m not ready!”

But he is more than ready. He’s marrying a great and godly young woman and he is a great and godly young man. God has been so faithful. And I guess that is why I have really no fears at all for this leg of the journey. I can trust my God to give them and the rest of us a life beyond all telling at every stage.

…Still, I understand there will be paramedics standing by for me.