For those of you who are “literature literate,” you will recognize these words as the beginning of Charles Dickens’ famous “Tale of Two Cities.” I read it way back in sophomore year English class in high school.
While these words are renowned, I applied them very appropriately to my college years. No question, at the time, that’s exactly how I described my college experience to everyone! For me, it absolutely was the best of times and the worst of times. But that was [cough, cough] years ago.
I was honored to play the piano for a wedding today. It was a beautiful event – full of hope, full of love, full of gospel teaching, full of joy and full of possibilities.
It’s the first wedding I’ve attended since Dale’s death 20 months ago (tomorrow). But it wasn’t my first invitation. I haven’t been able to attend alone yet. This was easier because I camped out at the keyboard throughout the ceremony. I had other things to keep my mind occupied. And I made it through without losing it. Yea me!
But, afterwards, I was chatting with a friend and mentioned that this was my first wedding post-Dale. I commented that weddings were harder for me than funerals. My wedding was also a beautiful event – full of hope, full of love, not-quite-as-full of gospel teaching, full of joy and full of possibilities.
THAT is what makes attendance at a wedding so hard for me as a widow now. I can’t help but be transported back to that amazing day in September 1986. But what a blessing that my memory of that day is still so crystal clear. And not just the memory of the activities of the day, but the memory of all the beautiful emotions I felt so many years ago.
With 32 years in the rear-view mirror, I can see the mixture of what our marriage was. Certainly, it was times of hope, love, joy and possibilities. But it was also times of trials, challenges, selfishness and heartache. That’s exactly what marriage is – and that’s what this beautiful young couple will grow to understand over time. Marriage – and life – are a mixture of joy and sorrow. Keeping God front and center is the key!
So, back to my conversation with my friend. As we wrapped it up, I said, “My wedding day was the best day of my life. And Dale’s funeral was the worst day of my life.”
Ta-da – Tale of Two Cities! Tale of life in this world. But that’s OK because what’s ahead for us as believers is a TRULY beautiful event – FULL of love, FULL of the Gospel (because Jesus will be there) and FULL of eternal joy. Hope fulfilled.
So, for those of you who are married, whether it’s for 3 hours as this young couple – or for 50 years, hug your spouse, tell them you love them and thank God for the work He does through your marriage.
I miss Dale every day, but I’m so grateful not only for that special day 32+ years ago, but for the journey that brought me from wedding day to funeral day and beyond. This is life. Embrace it all. The best of times and the worst of times.
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy from you.