Earlier this year, I married my beautiful wife. It was a joyous and memorable day. In fact, there are many reasons to give not the least of which pertained to the torrential downpour on that day. Many of the roads looked like tributaries leading away or toward a river. Each time I attend someone else’s wedding, I recall images and moments with delight. Part of me would like to believe that my wife and I inspired some friends and relatives to incorporate similar elements into their own ceremony and reception.
Last weekend, my wife and I traveled to Yuma, Arizona for a wedding. I remember the stress and pressure leading up to the big day. In all fairness, my wife shouldered way more as she had the day planned to the letter. Despite this fact, I still experienced a level of stress and pressure that no longer afflicts either of us. Once the wedding day ended, so did our deadlines, planning, scheduling, you name it. Somehow this flooded my mind at the wedding last week. I have way more compassion toward the bride and groom after experiencing my own.
Truth be told, Yuma, Arizona is very very hot. It also reminds me of the many Western movies that I have seen over the years. I do not know how those cowboys wore those outfits in that heat. The desert demands rugged people in order to handle the rugged climate. I drank more water than I ever thought possible, but I cherished air conditioning in a whole new way. This might sound strange coming from someone who lived in Miami, Florida for two decades prior to moving west. Nonetheless, it was true.
In the middle of the sweltering, Arizona heat, a wedding took place in stark contrast to the surrounding climate. That remained the best part. New life began in a desolate place. In many ways, the wedding celebration brought life to the region. It provided a joyous occasion to travel into Arizona and celebrate with family. The newlywed couple begins a stage of their lives together as their former ones cease to exist. Something dies in order for new life to begin. It is a process, and one that requires the support of friends and family. There are so many people, places, and things that seek to disrupt marriages.
What I enjoy so much about reflecting on last weekend is that nothing prevented the wedding from taking place. My wife and I arrived safely along with her parents. The desert heat was not as intense as it good have been for Yuma, Arizona. The hotel had a pool, which refreshed me and so much more could be added. The main thing is that life continues even in the desert. A young couple began a new journey with the support of family and friends. Life broke through in the desert. In fact, I like how the prophet Isaiah words it: “the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes” (Isaiah 35:7, ESV).
There is one more thing that needs to be said. I had excellent Mexican food in Yuma. My in-laws, wife, and I raved about the little Mexican place that was walking distance from our hotel. It was a hole in the wall, but those establishments usually own the bigger and more flashy places. Life and food are in the desert. This might sound counterintuitive, but it was true. I think it is important to realize that it is possible to enjoy and experience genuine life in the most unlikely of places.