Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Winter (11/14/05)
TITLE: Holly and Scott
By Sally Hanan
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Pastor Jeff clears his throat to continue the wedding sermon, “And now, Scott and Holly, I’d like to show you something.” His eyes sweep over the crowd questioningly.
“Would those married more than fifty years, please stand.” The pastor, married almost that long himself, murmurs a silent blessing on the five couples that get to their feet. Some hold onto the chair in front for an extra leg up, others lean on their partners. A cane here, an overweight body there, a crown of gray hair on many: each man holds hands with his beloved.
“Congratulations.” Applause spills into the quietness and then retreats.
“If those of you standing have ever had rough times together, raise your hand.” Ten wedding bands flutter in the air. A grin of understanding passes between my husband and I.
“During any of those trials in your marriage, have you ever thought of quitting?” All but one couple raise their hands. I reach over to rest a hand on my husband’s knee.
“Scott and Holly, take a look at what you see here.” The two lovebirds smile in blessed innocence at the few standing. “In your marriage there will come hard times. There will be days you think about leaving and never looking back. There will be seasons of snow, big freezes,” (a husband or two grimace), “slush and icy roads. You may not believe me now, but when those winters come, remember this moment, and remember, as long as you both cling to the Lord, your winter will eventually pass; spring will come again.”
The five couples nod, trying to catch the bride's and bridegroom’s eyes, trying to sear the pastor’s words into their hearts. The two lovers look like the wisdom is flowing over them like water off an oilskin.
A few minutes later, the rapturous couple walks up the aisle to cheers and camera flashes, with their commitment sealed before God and each other. Many have tears in their eyes. My husband remarks sardonically in my ear,
“I’m not crying over what they’ve just done, I’m crying over what’s ahead of them,” his eyes dryer than an Arizona desert, but definitely crinkled at their corners. He throws an arm around me and I nestle into his embracing warmth.
Holly and Scott, I hope that maybe, one winter’s day, we’ll get to tell you our story.
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