Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Ten months ago today - last June 13th - the day ended much differently than it began. Most poignantly - for my family, anyway - my older sister Julie started the day a "Miss" and ended the day a "Mrs." Most obviously - for anyone in Birmingham, AL, that is - the morning sky loomed heavy with clouds but the evening stars shown bright and clear. Most personally - for me, of course - I started the day believing I was an "anything is possible" type of person but ended the day shaking my head at my lack of faith.

Though the sky we woke to on Julie's wedding morning was anything but clear, it shouted a message that definitely was: "There will be NO outdoor wedding today. Period!" Gray clouds churned and swirled and thickened so sickeningly in the sky, it perfectly mirrored the nervous anxiousness brewing in my stomach. I stood on my parents' front porch in the quiet of the morning, tilted my head back and turned slowly in a circle to survey the situation. Bleak. No, not even bleak. Bad. Impossible. There was not a single break in the clouds, no light through any tunnel, no way the sky could clear by this evening, if ever. I could see no silver lining to these steel gray clouds.

I looked at my mother, our makeup-less faces pale with dread. "Has Julie seen the clouds?" I whispered with wide eyes. She gulped and nodded a yes. "Oh no," I thought. "OH NO."

Julie was the classically organized bride, planning details of the details so every part of her wedding day would be flawless. And now this, this doomsday of the ugliest sky I have ever seen.

At the hairdresser, the rain poured from the sky, puddled on the sidewalk, and swooshed against the windows. As our hair was pinned up and poufed up, the rain came down, down, down.

I tried to soften the blow, to make lemonade out of lemons: "the wedding will be pretty inside" and "it would be too hot in the June sun anyway." Instead of believing the dream would happen, I looked for Plan B. Julie never doubted, never waivered, never lost faith in her belief that a sunny outdoor wedding would happen. I thought she had lost her mind. She possessed a brideful hope that frankly just made her seem possessed (me, her doting maid of honor, standing behind her swirling a 'crazy' finger at my temple every time she refused the wedding should move inside.)

My finger was soon pointed at me, tsk-tsking the doubt I had been so sure of. As the last noses were powdered and lips blotted before the photographs began, I pulled back the curtains of the bride's room to reveal a sky whose curtain of clouds had dissolved. I laughed with stunned, bewildered eyes: it was a miracle! A miracle I had prayed for but never actually believed would come true.

Oh me of little faith! What wonderful possibilities have I written off because they seemed impossible? Have I ever been so passionately hopeful that everyone thought I was crazy? Do I really believe anything is possible?

When I remember Julie's wedding day, I will always think of how pretty she looked and the lesson I learned: no situation is ever as bleak as it seems, no dream is too unrealistic to hold, no sky is gray forever.

Top, the morning sky on June 13, 2009; bottom, the sky just six hours later.

1 comment:

Julie Mummert Harris said...

This should be a lesson we all remember. :)