If you know my son Luke, you'll understand why I've always given special consideration to my prayers for his future wife. I knew she was going to have to be a "special" lady.
Luke was born laid back, easy going, optimistic. He's a poet, a dreamer, a philosopher. He was the little kid in the outfield, examining dandelions or spinning in circles with his glove on his head. His fifth grade teacher summed it up well when she said, "Luke will be able to do whatever he wants with his life . . . but he'll need a secretary." His IQ is off the charts. He can quote reams of T.S. Eliot or remember details from an article he read years ago in National Geographic. But he can't find his keys. Or his shoes. Nor does he worry about it. "It will all work out," is his motto. And, somehow for him, it always has.
And yet, for such a laid back guy, Luke is passionate to the core. He'll happily land on the "uncool" side of hot topics if political correctness offends truth. He also loves intensely. His whole life he's been a cuddler. Never mind that he's a hairy, twenty-four-year-old man. If you let him, he'll sit on your lap and snuggle. One of his friends joked, "Luke's love language is violence." It's not that he's abusive. He just hugs that hard.
Over the years I wondered what his future wife would be like. I hoped she'd be organized where he's absent minded, but also free-spirited and artistic. That she would love his poetry and music, would share his passion for Christ's kingdom, and that her gifts and intellect would complement his. I knew she would have to be a prayerful, adventurous sort. I prayed that she wouldn't stress out when he came home shivering because he'd given his coat and last twenty-dollar bill to some homeless guy, that she would share his complete lack of material ambition and his burden for people who've never heard about Jesus.
Honestly, I wondered if she existed.
Well, friends, she does. Not only does Sarah complement Luke in all these matters, she gives him a run for his money. She thinks every bit as deeply. Her poetry is stunning. Her heart for the Lord as fearless as it is pure. Luke wasn't ever going to be the conventional boyfriend, and Sarah wasn't looking for one. They talked marriage on their first date--perhaps not so shocking when you know that the date happened eight months after she knew she would marry him and started praying along those lines. And, on top of all that, she's gorgeous and fun. He adores her, and so do I. She's perfect for my son.
As I've mentioned before, Sarah lives in a refugee community in Dallas, and that's the apartment they will share after they're married February 19. Which brings me to their wedding registry.
I'm a big fan of wedding registries. People like to give presents to their beloveds, and most young couples can't afford all the stuff you need to set up house. Registries help guarantee that the gifts will fit the couple's style and needs. Win-win. Given Luke and Sarah's disinterest in possessions and their future missionary plans, I was a little concerned they wouldn't register at all. But they proved sensible in that regard, and Grace escorted them to Crate & Barrel, Target, and REI. The process was quick and painless, neither one having strong opinions on electric mixers or measuring cups. After they finished I checked the registries online and was satisfied they'd have all they needed.
Then, after a couple of weeks, a strange thing happened to their Target registry. Items multiplied. One dirt devil vacuum cleaner became fifteen. And who needs thirty floor lamps? Fifty toothbrushes? And, wait a minute . . . sixty Gerber baby sleepers?!
You guessed it. (You always were the quick one.) They already have so much more than their refugee neighbors, the thought of adding piles of brand new household goods to their comparative abundance felt obscene. So they did the only logical thing (if you happen to be selfless and non-materialistic). They're giving their friends and relatives the opportunity to bless folks who are far more needy than almost all American newlyweds. Folks who've been displaced, who find themselves far from home with little more than the clothes on their backs. For Luke and Sarah, part of "setting up house" will be loading their arms with Christ's love in the form of lamps, brooms, toothpaste, and soap and carrying it to the mission field outside their doorstep. God only knows the doors and hearts that will open in response.
And yet there's still a part of me that wants to say, "But wait. What if everyone buys the items for the refugees, and you don't receive the stuff you selected for yourselves? This is YOUR wedding. YOUR chance to feather YOUR nest. You won't get another opportunity like this ever again."
I won't say it, though. Because, hearing it through their ears, it sounds as selfish and hoarding as it is. And, honestly, I'm ashamed. Ashamed that I would even consider weighing them down with misguided priorities just because I've held them myself for so long. On the contrary, may I become more like them, joyfully sharing all things, loving in more than word, living what I say I believe.
Luke and Sarah are getting married. Only time will tell what God intends to do with their union, but meanwhile sixty babies and I will be glad they did.