My brother and sister-in-law got married just less than a year-and-a-half ago. It was a perfect day. We were at the beach, the weather was spectacular, my sister-in-law looked beautiful in her wedding gown, and my brother was exceedingly handsome in his dress blues. Maybe best of all, our families and friends rejoiced that a long-awaited day had come. There was no drama, everyone had a fantastic time, and each of the ring-bearers had four legs.
What could better? It was, surely, a perfect day.
I cried pretty much through the whole ceremony. Perfect days don’t come along very often, and I was rejoicing right along with everyone else. And among all the perfect moments, there was one that took my breath away. After they had exchanged rings, Travis and Jessica walked a few steps to a table prepared for a sand ceremony. Jessica took a vase of orange sand, and Travis took one with blue sand, and they poured them together into one vase, symbolizing the way their lives were now inseparable. It was a lovely part of the ceremony, and the pastor talked about Travis traveling to the sands of Iraq and Jessica staying here, until they would meet on the sands of Okinawa after his deployment.
Right in the middle of that, I focused in on my brother’s hand and saw his wedding ring for the first time. Wow. I wasn’t prepared for the jolt of that. My brother was a husband. The one I helped dress up as the Incredible Hulk and Luke Skywalker for Halloween, the one who burned his hand on the oven door, the one who raced his friend Ethan to each continent, the one who became my grown-up friend when we were roommates – my brother – was a husband! It was strange and wonderful and all caught up in seeing his ring.
When we were growing up, our dad, our grandfathers, and one of our uncles never wore a wedding band. They worked with machines that might use a ring to rip their fingers off, so it was best not to wear one. I guess because of that, I didn’t pay much attention to wedding rings. In the difficult years after our parents’ divorce, I didn’t want to pay much attention to wedding rings. Somehow all of that is caught up, and healed, in seeing my brother’s wedding ring, too. It was no small thing to get married. It is no small thing to build a marriage that blends the best of their families and gently sets aside the other parts. I’m so thankful he’s chosen to wear his ring.
At Christmas time, someone posted a picture of my brother on Facebook. There was the ring again! Every time I see it I remember that moment on the beach, during the wedding. I remember how much I love my sister-in-law. I remember how very proud I am of the man my brother is and of the commitments he’s made. At least on the inside, I smile and shake my head at the wonder of this life. All of that from a tiny piece of gold! I hope I never get over it.