The stage was set.
A cold wintery day, but blue skies filled with sunshine. We couldn’t have asked for more. Perfect conditions to capture the moment.
That first look.
I stood with the groom as he nervously tapped his feet. My daughter was with the bride. There to film a video of two beautiful people anxious to be united as one. The wedding was six short days away. But today they would see each other for the first time wearing the full bridal ensemble.
The anticipation was thick. This was starting to feel real. For all of us.
Who could have predicted this joyous event? Such a sharp contrast to a previous year of loss.
A young man on a mission to serve His God. Abruptly returning home to bury his father. And then returning to finish his commitment. A sacrifice which would break his heart. And a blessing which would strengthen it.
“You’re looking sharp Nick,” I said to my nephew. Something about a good looking man in a tux. I straightened his jacket. Brushed off his shoulders and straightened the bow tie.
He smiled and pulled his jacket lapel out to show me his suspenders.
“These are my dad’s. I thought it best to wear them today.”
I felt the lump in my throat. Fought back tears. “They’re perfect,” I whispered.
“We’re ready,” said my daughter. She got into position behind the camera. I stood back and watched as the moment approached. A strong, handsome groom ready and waiting. And a beautiful bride drawing near. Here on the grounds of the Salt Lake City temple. She tapped his shoulder. He turned around.
That first look.
And then the thought came.
Perhaps he was here. This young man’s father here to share in this moment of joy. To see the love on his son’s face as he turned and saw his bride.
Why wouldn’t he be?
Temples of God are here in Utah and all over the world. Holy places. Sanctuaries where ordinances are performed which bind families together forever. A place of eternal love and beauty. A place of peace. A place unlike anywhere else on earth.
Six days later I entered the temple and took my seat. Majestic elegance in a holy setting. I looked around at the family gathered. The wedding just minutes away. I took notice of all in attendance. Family. Friends. His mother.
Once again. The thought came.
Jim is here.
A father taken from mortal life - here in this sacred setting to celebrate and witness an eternal commitment. I recognized it and felt a wave of gratitude. I smiled through tears.
Of course he is.
Love on an eternal scale. Eternal families. A dimension which is beyond human vision, but felt by spirit. A principle of truth.
1 + 1 = 3