So, you are thinking, another Father of the Bride Story? So soon?
Yes. But this time it’s not about me. It is, however, about a Father of the Bride experience that moved me almost as much as when I walked Maria down the aisle 13 months ago.
Bill and Sue are neighbors and friends of ours and, when they told us that their daughter, Andrea, was getting married in June of 2015, (one year after Maria’s wedding) Marlys and I shared wedding planning stories with them. I knew Bill would enjoy walking Andrea down the aisle and his father/daughter dance as much as me. He is, after all, both a very good dad and, like me, a sentimental fool.
Then, four months ago, we received the sad news that I thought might change everything.
In late February, Bill took levaquin and prednisone, two antibiotics that were prescribed to give him relief for his sinus infection. That evening Bill watched a Channel 11 news story about how a woman who had taken levaquin had become disabled by her reaction to the medication. He was disturbed to hear the news and somewhat relieved that he had not felt any symptoms. The next morning, he woke up feeling like “his legs were on fire”. He has not walked since.
The past few months have been a grueling and painful ordeal with Bill and Sue consulting with doctors everywhere to find some source of relief and hopefully a plan for recovery. The progress has been painfully slow; the prognosis uncertain.
When I heard about Bill’s condition, I was struck with many sad thoughts. The first thing that came to mind was that Bill may not be able to walk Andrea down the aisle and how very sad that would be.
I was half right.
Bill was still in a wheelchair when Andrea got married last weekend. However, if you think that the wedding was a sad occasion, you clearly were not there.
As we watched Bill wheel down the aisle next to Andrea last Saturday, his smile could not have been brighter and the mood in the church could not have been more joyful. After a beautiful wedding (highlighted by a stunning recessional written by Bill), Andrea and Bill took to the floor for the Father/Daughter dance; Andrea standing proudly in her beautiful gown; Bill in his smart tux, beaming from his wheelchair. They started with a slow and moving dance and then broke into a hilarious and entertaining choreographed fast dance set to a medley of tunes including Proud Mary (giving Bill the opportunity to point to his wheel chair and smile as Tina Turner belted “Big Wheels Keep on Turning”.)
Throughout this amazing day, everyone present was moved from tears to laughter to awe and admiration. And now, looking back five days later, I feel truly inspired.
As someone smack in the middle (or perhaps toward the end) of middle age, I think about my health a lot, knowing that the sweetness of my life could be challenged any day by changes in my health, either gradual or sudden. While I suppose I pray for good health, I really don’t believe in a God that does not allow our body to decay, (if that is God’s role, the results are not impressive.). No, realizing bad health will someday arrive, I pray instead to have the right attitude about it.
Victor Frankl, one of my true heroes, said that the one freedom we all have, is the freedom to choose our attitude when faced with any situation. When I am faced with those kinds of challenges, I have often thought about Victor Frankl. Now, at least for awhile, I will think about Bill and how he faced one of the most difficult challenges I have ever seen and, through attitude and character, turned it into one of the most beautiful moments I have ever witnessed.