She has fallen in love again. He has too.
Neither thought they ever would. Both have said the long goodbye as a spouse breathed their last. Pain very nearly too great to bear.
And yet...love sometimes blooms in the most unlikely of places. Among the most unlikely of people. As the groom said recently, God guides even the emotions, because neither of them would've imagined this! Love is risky, because it creates the possibilty of great pain and loss; both of them would say that it's worth it. Well worth it.
She is a servant. Always has been. A teacher. A librarian. A lover of words and books and education and children. A rock.
He is a gentleman. I 'spect he always has been, though I've not known him long. He is a warrior who flew fighter planes for the U.S. Air Force. 2 tours in Vietnam. He's a patriot. 40 years ago some protesters beat up some military recruiters on the campus where he went to college. His words to me: "That's not right! So I wrote the school off..." (Note: He's all in favor of free speech, having put his life on the line for it. He is not in favor of misplaced boorish punk idiocy disguised as free speech. Neither am I.) He's a man of integrity. Left his second career because of concerns that he was being pushed into unethical behavior.
Both of them have strong political views. Unlike the prevailing approach in America today though, they can express their views without anger and without mocking those who do not share their views. And they do not feel the need to express them nonstop. And further, they can be great friends with those of different political views, as opposed to the common American approach of hatred toward any--candidates or regular people--who disagree with one's political views. Mannerly civil discourse...what a concept! What a lost art...
They are great together, as couples in love should be. Looking to each other's needs. The bride has offended him a time or two...by opening her own door. He says that a gentleman always opens the door for a lady. (memo to the rest of us: he's right!). They are very comfortable knowing that the other was married before and has children. He said to the bride's adult son: "Around me you don't ever have to worry about bringing up your Dad. I'm not him and am not trying to be him. I'll never take his place, so don't think you have to hide him from me. I know he was a great guy and that your Mother loved him greatly." He also said, "if either of our spouses were still alive, we wouldn't be together."
The easy thing for people their age to do is to move in together and dispense with the formalities. Neither of them could do that. The bride said she couldn't look at her grandchildren and do that. The groom said he wasn't raised that way, and that they would be married in a church in front of a minister, "the way it's supposed to be."
And so, in just a couple of hours, the bride and the groom will approach the altar in their church in Ft. Walton Beach, FL and stand before a minister in a private ceremony. In the few minutes after that, the bride...my Mom...will become Mrs. Leo Hicks! I am so very happy for her. For them. And I am very grateful to both for continuing to model class...and dignity...and patriotism (not the knee-jerk kind, but real, thoughtful patriotism that loves this country even while recognizing its flaws and seeking to improve them)...and love...and genuine Christian faith.
Pray with me for the newlyweds, won't you?
I love you, Mom & Leo!! Have a great trip!