Being the retired parson that I am, I made a decision not long ago. The decision was I was not going to do any more weddings unless they were for members of the church I currently serve. I haven’t. Let’s just say I’ve lived long enough to become as cantankerous and stubborn as a wedding consultant I now avoid.
“Parson, it’s Lydia.”
The mind struggled for clarification. It was one of those times when you instinctively know you should recognize the voice and name, but there’s a barrier to recognition.
“Lydia,” she repeated, “The Church of the Struggling Sinners.”
The inflection in her voice tipped it off on the first syllable of the word “church.”
“Lydia, Lydia Charles, oh my goodness, what a surprise. Tell me what you’re doing these days.”
Lydia was in the second grade almost twenty years ago when the parson left her congregation to serve in another parish. She quickly fed him information about her family, the church, her life both in school and after graduation.
“Parson,” she finally said, “do you remember when you left I told you I’d call when I was getting married so you could perform the ceremony?”
The parson remembered. He pictured the scene in his mind. It was right after she’d given him a card with a crying kitten on the front and the words, “I’m going to miss you.” The card still held an honored place on the parson’s desk.
“I do, Lydia. I do.” The parson immediately steeled himself for what was coming next. He screwed up his resolve to stand by his decision.
“I was wondering if you could do it the end of August?”
“Are you serious, Lydia? You don’t have some other pastor in all these years who you’d want to do this.”
“I’ve had a lot of pastors, but I want you to do my wedding.”
The parson began his skillful dodging. “Well, Lydia, I’m really busy about that time. I’m not sure I’d be able to squeeze it in.”
“Parson, we’re going to provide you with a house on the beach at Saint Simons.”
The parson quickly whispered to the figure sitting on his shoulder, “Get thee behind me.”
“I really am busy then, Lydia.”
“Hold on a minute, Parson. Let me ask my mother something.”
The parson waited.
“Okay, Parson, here’s the deal. You tell us when you can spend a week on Saint Simons and we’ll change the wedding to the Saturday of that week.”
FYI – This is the last post for a few days. If you need me I’ll be on Saint Simons Island.