The son of the mantra, "It will all work out, no worries", began the journey to the airport in Google Map time calculations, allowing no buffers for the ensuing traffic delays. Fortunately, he and his girl had a chauffeured commute so they could begin stripping belts and jackets enroute, hoping to shave off minutes from STA stringency. Bolting from the car, as it braked at the terminal, they bounded O.J. style towards the front of any lines, now chanting, "Excuse me, please, my plane leaves in 10 minutes". No worries, they made the flight just before the planes' doors folded in behind them.
The daughter checked and rechecked luggage to make certain sippy cups were in their easy-to-reach pouches, enough outfits were packed per day and activity, hairspray and lotion were stationed in their proper zip-lock baggie, and little boys had enough distractions to keep them happy during flights and layovers. During one of the flights, stormy weather bounced their plane beyond her comfort level. With eyes closed and fists clenched, she had to smile as the excited four year old voice besides her exclaimed how this was "just like a fun roller coaster ride, mommy!"
The parents boarded two different trains to arrive in Chicago and then a direct flight to the Gathering in Tulsa. Weather issues delayed the flight by 90 minutes, making us the last members to arrive and missing the first meal together. But we were all safe and sound and together and prepared to get Son number one married and off to a new start of family.
As our nation tries to navigate through the tempestuous pathways surrounding and intersecting with the definition and understanding of marriage, witnessing Son and Woman declaring their intent to enter this sacred union was like standing on a street corner in a noisy hub of arguing traffic and shouting that our God is the same yesterday, today and forever and His word never changes. We came together to celebrate this mysterious merger, this divine design. This is how it is stated in Ephesians 5: 31&32:
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church."
This event was our purpose and focus for the Gathering, but there was more to add to the trip's delight. Son in Tulsa let all 8 of us travelers stay in his modest sized house with his two daughters. The abode bulged with bodies and bustle as we shared catching-up chats, played Uno with the youngest generation, dandled the daughter's 2 year old on our knee and watched out for the safety of Neo, the ever present Maltese, amidst all the shuffle. I was reminded of days gone by, when brothers were impatient with sister for hogging bathroom time with long showers, and the line up for phone use was as long as the cord it was attached to. All that practice of patience was now paying off, as adults graciously took short showers and shared the bathroom mirror. No more waiting for phones, however, as everyone using their personal cells for everything from trading addresses for GPS, to sharing goofy camera pictures, to taking turns in 'Words With Friends'.
Perhaps it was a taste of heaven, this family loving and togetherness. Though our dwellings there may be spacious mansions, our fellowship will be close and intimate. I want times of being squished close together on the sofa, of wrestling together, limbs entwined on the floor, and sitting elbow-to-elbow at the table tearing pieces off the same pound of shaved lunch meat.
To belly laugh at silly antics and talk above the music of guitars strumming with voices singing worship songs. (Son of 'no worries' serenaded us with just this kind of background sound). But most of all we'll be with the One who brought us all together by his blood and sacrifice and the gaiety will reflect perfect love, fulfillment and joy for eternity! The Marriage we've all been preparing for and anticipating.
No matter what sets itself up to mimic this magnificent mystery, will then be exposed as only an impish imposter.
Even so come, our Bridegroom!