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Together for Good - Livin' the Good Life

Aug. 7th, 2009

12:37 pm - Together for Good

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I had the privilege of attending an extraordinarily beautiful wedding in Oregon last weekend. My niece, Alyssa, got married to Tyler, her college sweetheart, at a historic 1890s Victorian mansion called The Settlemier House. The actual wedding took place in a gazebo out on an expansive lawn surrounded by old, broad-leafed trees. The receiving line took place inside the house, and the delicious banquet was spread out in the next room to be enjoyed after the guests were finished greeting the wedding party. We ate outside in the shade of the picturesque trees seated at round tables with white tablecloths, contrasted against the bright, green grass. Just gorgeous! It reminded me of Gone With the Wind.
Here's the Settlemier House.
tylyssa house

The old mansion has been turned into a museum, and it was really fascinating to walk through the many rooms and look at the remnants of an age gone by. I carefully examined every room, imagining myself living there as both a child and as an adult. It was a child’s paradise, to be sure, but those were the days when adults worked much harder just to stay alive, and their “modern conveniences” were not that convenient by today’s standards!

I had arrived at my brother’s house several days before the wedding so I could help with the preparations. We spent one day just cutting up fresh fruits and vegetables and arranging large trays of meats and cheeses for the “make your own” sandwiches. My sister-in-law, Ruth, had an army of friends to help her with all the many details that make up a smooth-running wedding. She had been working toward this end pretty much non-stop for the last couple of months. By the time I got there, most of the work had been done and all of Ruth’s many helpers were organized and ready for the big event. I just helped with preparing the food and transferring it around to various places before it reached its final destination. There was lots of running around attending to last minute details, and we dropped into bed exhausted each night.

The morning of the wedding, the "bustle" on the wedding dress was still being finished by a seamstress/family friend. The hairdresser arrived at Ruth’s at 7 AM to do the hair of Ruth, the bride and her wedding party. It took four hours! We hurried off to Settlemier House just in time for the pictures. The wedding was at noon, so they had to get those formal wedding shots finished in just one hour. The photographer really knew what she was doing and accomplished the task in plenty of time.

My job was to help in the kitchen after the wedding. I washed a mountain of dishes! Maya was there to work with me, as she and Gabe (long story) had arrived just as the wedding was beginning, and she offered to become part of Ruth’s army of helpers. I enjoyed sharing that rich experience with Maya. Ruth has a great group of good-natured, solidly-married friends, and it was fun to feel a part of the strong church community she has there.

My brother, Don, was having a hard time of it. Although he was truly happy that Alyssa was happy, and he liked and approved of Tyler, he freely admitted that he didn't like the sound of "giving his daughter away". It was especially hard because she and her husband were immediately moving to Georgia. "Too far away", said Don. Obviously, Don and his eldest daughter have been very close. (He says he caught her at birth because they didn't make it to the hospital.) Here's Don on his way to making the break. I love this picture. He's such a sentimental guy, and it shows.
tylssa don

I have never seen a bride and groom so happy and excited as these two were. They could barely contain themselves! (I don’t think they even tried.) They are deeply religious, and in keeping with their beliefs, they kept themselves "pure" for their future spouses. (This fact was actually mentioned by the pastor in the ceremony, so that is not a private piece of information.) It was really moving to see the innocence, openness, and trust in their eyes. Based on what I know of my neice and the little bit I know about Tyler, I believe this marriage will last. They have been taught all their lives about how to be happily married by both their churches and their parents' examples, and I think they have been well prepared.
tylyssa vows

All the typical wedding rituals were observed
tylyssa cake

When I see things like this, I have hope for the future. The world needs more open, trusting, well-prepared, dedicated couples... those trained to stay the course and not be swayed by the current attitudes toward marriage, like: When the going gets tough, jump ship!

Tyler's father had this quote printed up on the rehearsal lunch menu: "We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly." (And I might add that the learning never stops!) In other words, "No one is perfect, but love is."
My similar advice to young people is to find a person who you believe is an excellent match for you, (first, know yourself) and then you commit to learning how to love them over and over again. It's a spiritual path. An inner discipline. A Great Work. And it's not easy! But, I love to see the optimistic desire of young couples to make it work. To be a "mighty team". It helps to have a community of other married people who are also "doing the work" to cheer you on and extend a hand when you're down. Tyler and Alyssa definitely have that!
Best wishes, you two!