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October 1, 2006

Be Thou My Vision

Today I was part of one of those life’s portals that we get to walk through if we live long enough. My son got married. The ceremony took place outside on a perfectly clear and cool day in a beautiful garden in Virginia. My daughter served as “best person” which was an unusual but very nice touch. Somewhere along the way when the parents weren’t paying attention she and my son became close friends. She also sang “Be Thou My Vision” with a single violin (actually fiddle) accompaniment and everyone was in tears before the ceremony even began.

Other than paying for the rehearsal dinner the father of the groom is pretty much at the bottom of the ladder on the wedding party. Apparently my role was to give advice to the groom. Since he is nearly thirty and an accomplished D.C. attorney, I assume that boat sailed awhile back. However, when he was about 8 years old I told him, “Son, marry a woman who can read a map.” He has always remembered that. His wife is an airline pilot so he must have taken it to heart. They are a lovely couple and we are fortunate parents to have such great kids and now a beautiful daughter-in-law.

There is a legendary story in our family that when my mother and dad were married, his father (my grandfather) walked by the church and asked a passerby,”What’s going on at the church today?” He was told, “Your son is getting married.” Times have changed. I can’t imagine not being a part of the important events in my children’s lives.

Another of the things that stood out for me was the quality of the new couple’s friends. I knew a few of my son’s friends from his high school and college days and to see them now as successful doctors, lawyers, and professors really impressed me. These are our future leaders and it gives me confidence about the direction of our country. We hear so much every day that is bad but we rarely glimpse what is good. Since I am around university students every day, I probably have more optimism than most but seeing these young professionals brought home to me the importance of education to leadership and democracy.