This weekend my family spent the weekend up at two harbors, examining wedding venues. We stayed at our top choice, Superior Shores to see if it would suite everything we envisioned. When we arrived late on Friday, I was tired and irritable. I walked into the lobby and was slightly discomforted by the numerous stuffed foxes, wolves and bears. Cheesy advertisements cluttered the walls, and the room we were in was filled with kitchy decorations. At first blush this lodge clashed with the ideals in my head and the 5 getaway wedding resorts that were covering the bridal magazines I purchased. I went to bed frustrated, John being his usual wonderful self- comforting me, telling me I was worrying too much and to give the place a chance and to have some faith everything would work itself out.
Despite how tired I had been, I woke up for very early on Saturday morning, 7:00am. Not being able to fall back asleep, I got up and decided to go for a walk outside. The room we were in opened up to a big lawn. And then the pathway from our room led to a wooden covered bridge that opened into a pebble beach. I took sharp breaths in the cool November air as I walked along the frost-crunchy grass. I walked up a small hill after the bridge to get to the top of the beach (which slops downwards) and was immediately taken by the mist and the daybreak over lake superior. The thought whispered through my hair into my ear- “This is the place”.
Enveloped by the beauty and freshness of the lake, any residual concerns and annoyances from the previous night washed away. The appreciation and awe for my surroundings quickly clouded out worry and selfish preoccupations. God was the lake. He was in every wave, every wind current, in the mist rising from the water, the soaked and smooth black rocks on the shore. He was there and I couldn’t help but drink him in. It was a similar experience to sitting in an empty church for me. But instead of focusing on a cross, it was Lake Superior sprawled out in front of me -breathtakingly blue. Nothing I could plan, orchestrate or come up with myself would ever compare the grandeur of the lake and the divine swirling within it.
The day that unfolded after that walk was filled with ease. My whole family as we walked around the lodge was pleasantly surprised by the service and the set-up of the lodge, and many of the rooms in the lodge (most individually owned) were more modern and well-decorated than the one we happened to be in. But truly, if that had not been the case, it would have been ok- I laughed at myself for how right john was and how easily I had been focusing on what didn’t matter.
You hear and witness all sorts of wedding horror stories. With so much hyper-focus and excitement that goes into it, it is no wonder all the stress, concern and ups and downs that come with it in our culture. I am blessed with generous parents, loving in-laws and an unbeatable and easygoing fiancé. But I also see the temptation to go down the rabbit hole, the bridal fascination with the details and planning the event and everything else. The bridal magazines are have to be somewhat akin to female porn, drooling over the decorations and the dresses and all the other material items that piece together a wedding. It is tempting and easy to turn to being self-focused; selfish. That is after all what all the worry and stress point to- this is/isn’t what I want.
I need to continue to remember to look outward. To look outward at the other people this is really about (Johns family, my family, those who are important to us). To look outward towards the lake, towards the beauty of the journey and the process, towards the marriage. And of course, to look outward for God, and to remember this is ultimately a celebration to honor him and the absolutely necessary role he will play in our marriage day in and day out. And that is one of many reasons I look forward to getting married on lake superior, and spending extra time up there this upcoming year planning and orchestrating the event. Because if I am on that lake, it will be much harder to forget what is really important.