My friend met her other half, half-way around the world. I witnessed their wedding this weekend—with wonder.
This was a gal as skittish about real-life romance as anyone I’ve ever known. Oh, she loved mushy movies—much more than most people, I’d say. But to talk about—even in her earshot—anything too personal and Jessica squirmed, blushed, sometimes even left the room!
Yet there she stood, dressed to un-do any doubters in a gorgeous, gauzy gown, gazing radiantly at her equally gorgeous groom, and the whole congregation basked in the glow of their mutual adoration.
Jess went to Namibia, in southwest Africa, 2 years ago, for a 2-week stint to help take care of AIDS orphans—infants and children whose parents who had died from the disease or whose health had deteriorated to the point that they could no longer care for their family. Jess fell head-over-heels for the kids right away, and she promptly made plans to move there for good. Little did she know that the Love of her Life—her now-husband Elton—also awaited her return.
They had been introduced on her initial trip, but she had not thought much of the meeting. He was one of a few dozen staffers at the orphanage. When she went back, she delved into life at the Village and became an integral part of the staff herself.
Jess liked Elton—in fact, felt especially attracted to him. But she denied the significance and mutuality of the pull until our other friend Tina took a 3-month sabbatical to join Jess as a volunteer at the orphanage. Tina was there for just 1 week before she felt compelled to say something about the chemistry between ‘this man and this woman.’ Like a beaker on the brink of boiling, Jess spilled over in nervous excitement as she began to express her true feelings about the tall, handsome, intelligent, kind-hearted, gentle-spirited Elton.
A Namibian romance bloomed rapidly, culminating in the American-African marriage celebration I took part in yesterday.
“Gracious, Loving and Generous God,” the minister invoked.
Generous indeed. My heart is full.
There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a maiden.
—Proverbs 30: 18-19