A dog is a great conversation starter, especially if it is a stubby legged, bat-eared, grinning corgi.
I was walking my dog a few days ago when a young couple sitting on a bench asked the usual questions, “what kind of dog is that” and “what’s his name”? I paused to answer their questions (a Welsh Corgi/Higgins) and ended up having a great conversation.
They asked the typical questions a tourist on the island would ask; where’s a good place to eat?, is there a place to rent kayaks?, can you swim with dolphins?, where is the best place to see a manatee? Arriving just a few hours earlier, after a 14-hour drive from their land-locked home state, they were already in love with this little slice of paradise. I smiled as the conversation turned to the cost of real estate and availability of jobs. The lure of island life is powerful.
The purpose of their trip thrilled my heart! This sweet young couple had driven 14 hours straight to exchange wedding vows on the beach in this island paradise. Just the two of them, a minister and a photographer. I could sense their excitement in the plans for the following day.
After a few minutes, we said our good byes. I wished them well and headed back home, Higgins leading the way. But, I could not stop thinking about this young couple on the brink of starting their lives together as husband and wife.
I don’t know, maybe it was the nostalgia I felt thinking about my own marriage of 31 years, or perhaps it is because of my baby girl’s upcoming nuptials or it could have been the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart. Whatever it was, I could not stop thinking about them.
I thought about the things I wish I had said to them, things like always be loyal and faithful to each other, be kind to each other, love each other fiercely, when things get tough (and they will) don’t give up on each other, hold on tightly until the end and most of all include God in your union. I wanted to tell them that I hoped they would come back to this place as a gray-haired couple and reminisce about the beginning of them.
I didn’t get to say those things in our brief conversation but I did pray for them the rest of that day and the next. I prayed that the storms would pass in time for the wedding and that all would go well, I prayed that they would have a strong marriage full of love and I prayed that they would one day be able to return to this place of memories with their children and grandchildren. I prayed that they knew the Lord and that they would include Him in their marriage. This introverted girl even went out on a limb and purchased a wedding card and left it on their doorstep.
God is so good. Two days later, my husband and I went to a local restaurant after church and there sat this newly married couple! I introduced them to my husband and we chatted for a few minutes. Their faces beamed as they showed us their wedding rings and said that the ceremony turned out beautifully. They even promised to email pictures. We congratulated them, offered our best wishes and told them to let us know when they were coming back to the island (I have no doubt they will be back)! We said goodbye and wished them safe travels and that was that.
Most people would see this as a series of coincidences. I think it was a divine appointment, here’s why: I let my dog choose which way he wants to walk and it isn’t always the same way. He could have gone left instead of right and I would have never walked by that bench. We pass by dozens of people every day often uttering the same salutation: “How are you? Fine. How are you?” My new young friends and I could have fallen into that easy exchange and missed out on something sweet. I could have squelched that inner voice telling me to acknowledge their special day with a card. My husband and I could have chosen a different restaurant and missed out on hearing the rest of the story. So many possibilities for a near miss! But on that seemingly insignificant Friday morning, I am so thankful that I didn’t just pass by.
God bless you Joe and Kelly!