After six long months of working three jobs and planning a wedding, at long last my big day had come. When I woke up that morning, I got goosebumps looking at my dress as it hung on the back of the door. Everything was done. I had planned, purchased, and organized the reception favors, the ceremonial gifts, the readings and prayers and busied myself about attire and flowers and photography for so long that it was so weird to wake up and not have anything to do.
And in that sterling moment of silence at 6:00 in the morning, in the dark before the morning broke, I realized what all of this was for. One day. In my brilliance, I realized that it really was pretty stupid to be so caught up in the plans for something that would only last for a day. But then I remembered that it wasn’t just any day. It was my day, and my soon-to-be-husband’s day.
My hair was done and the veil was stuck on the top of my mounds of blonde curls. Looking in the mirrors, I wondered if this is how every Cinderella felt on the day she was married. If my heart hadn’t been attached to my body through the workings of arteries and veins, I think it very well could have flown right out of me. It was the day I had been waiting for my entire life. My friends told me I looked stunning. So did they.
We went out to lunch. I was glancing at my clock and counting down the hours until he was mine. We had waited for so long for this day to come. It seemed during our courtship and engagement that God simply wanted us to be together. We kept finding freaky similarities that became unique to our relationship; our mothers’ first names were exactly the same, and they both grew up in the same name of two separate churches. I had asked God for a “godly” man, and discovered that he is the firstborn son of Mary and Joseph. The Lord had set up this match for our enjoyment, and we were committed to spending the rest of our lives devoted to Him and to one another, as He would have it.
We hopped in the van, my bridesmaids and friends and I. I could feel something in my nerves. I knew I was so close. We were on our way to the hotel, then to the house, and finally to the Church. I sat in the passenger’s seat looking out the window at the drizzle and cold. It’s lucky if it rains on your big day, they all say, but I wished I would have had sunshine. I didn’t need any luck. I had God.
In a split second, my maid of honor (and my fiance’s little sister) slammed on the brakes and screamed. Yanked from my daze of glory, I saw my life flash in front of me as someone in a light blue van turned in front of us as we coasted before a green light.
My heart was in my throat. All I could hear were the screams of the girls around me. Although I was screaming too, I couldn’t hear it. Ever been so scared that you can’t feel your body? I had no perception of any part of mine anymore. I was ready to let it all go, to allow that irresponsible left-turning someone to plunge into the passenger-side of our van, to take my life on my wedding day. I was prepared to die.
Then the unthinkable happened: our van jutted to a sharp halt in the middle of the intersection and the irresponsible someone pumped the gas, swinging within mere inches of us. They scurried to make a clean getaway.
To this day, I know that this rigid moment of fear was the last of God’s signs to me that He wanted me to get married after all.
We caught our breath and kept going. I told my maid of honor she had saved all of our lives. In my mind, I could see a jumble of scenes floating in anger: my dead body lying on the pavement with the wedding veil twirling in the wind. The other driver’s shock in finding himself guilty of killing an innocent girl on her wedding day. The expression of my would-be groom when he found out that three hours before the wedding, I had been killed by an irresponsible driver. My anger was ignited. How could this person act so impulsively, to be oblivious to everyone else around him?
How can we act so oblivious sometimes to the people around us? We don’t know who they are or what they’re doing. Sometimes we act like we don’t care. We forget that we are equal to them, that we are all important and that we’re all here for something. We forget that purpose to love each other, in our hurry to work or whatever else has captivated our feeble minds away from what we should be focused on.
This moment of learning humbled me. That I was still alive surprised me. God must have intended for us all to go on living. And every single person who was in that van with me knows what I mean when I say that we were not lucky, we were blessed to still be alive after that. It was divine intervention. There was no other way out of it. We could all see that very clearly.
After that sobering moment, we went on with our day. Yes, here comes the happily ever after. We were married joyously surrounded by family and friends, and to our astonishment, the sun came out over the lake during picture-time, setting the sky in the most richly adorned and spectral sunset I had ever seen.
And as my Prince Charming and I strolled blissfully into the sunset, ready to tackle our next big adventures in life, Inever forgot the feeling of remembrance that washed over me like a bucket of ice. I could have been dead that day.
And after that pivotal moment when I realized I had survived, I very well could have allowed it to ruin my day. But that’s not what I wanted.
It’s all in how you look at it.