Brother of the bride

Posted on October 6, 2010

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The first time I sang at a wedding, I was 8 years old. (I’m the boy in the middle of the picture to your left, so you should be able to spot me in the video below.) Just know that in my defense, one of the lines in the song was “All of us are here, gathered with a tear.” It took great courage in that moment to be vulnerable enough to express the text in such a literal and visceral way, as well as tremendous “presence of mind” (a.k.a. capacity for passive-aggressive defiance?) to look away from the crowd/director and instead aim my eyes-closed, blubbering singing toward the bride and groom.

See for yourself.

(Sigh…)

Since I displayed my virtuosic performance chops at my aunt Stephanie’s wedding (featured above) back in 1989, it might not surprise you to know that I’ve only landed two wedding gigs since. But this Saturday, my sister Mandy- the oldest of my three younger sisters (and the girl furthest to the left in the video)- is getting married, and she has really rolled the dice by asking me to sing not only at her wedding reception during the first dance, but also during the ceremony with my wife.

Bold.

Truthfully, I still cry a lot. More than I’d like to. But as I advance in age, I’d like to think that when I cry now, it’s for reasons that are a little more grown-up than they were back in my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle obsession days. At my aunt Stephanie’s wedding, I cried because I was painfully shy as a kid, and I didn’t really want to sing in front of ANYONE much less in front of a bunch of family I knew and/or strangers I didn’t know. If I cry this weekend, it won’t be out of fear, nerves or embarassment; it will be because I am bursting with pride and joy for one of the (three) greatest sisters a guy could ask for on her big day.

Even though her childhood tattle-tale tendencies are directly connected to my two Biggest Punishments of All-Time, I’ll have you know that Mandy is effortlessly kind. Showing love to other people comes unbelievably naturally to her. And it isn’t the fake kind of love and attention that some people have mastered the “art” of giving to others. She’s as genuine and caring a person as you could possibly hope to meet, and is more often than not the kind of friend to others that has a life-long impact on who they are. It’s often said that great athletes “make everyone around them better,” and that is definitely true of my Mandy in pretty much everything she does.

I use the sports analogy because sports is one of the biggest connections that I have to her. In fact, it’s probably the single biggest thing outside of our faith that we share in common. And so her sports-loving fiancée has no doubt won the lottery by finding her, and by saying “I do” this Saturday is clinching himself not only a lifetime of guilt-free sports watching, but someone who will watch sports with him with an equal amount of passion, interest and knowledge.

But Mandy’s won the lottery, too. In Bryan, she’s found someone who gets along with our large extended family, and by all accounts, seems to enjoy us. And when I come home at Christmas or during summer vacations, I love watching how well Bryan gets along with my younger cousins (whose growing-up years I missed out on since I don’t live in L.A. anymore), the way that he banters back and forth about meaningless stuff with my other two sisters, and his heart for ministry and all kinds of people.

For what it’s worth, I have great faith that these two are and will continue to be a great team. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend full of celebration, and I’m really looking forward to being there to watch them commit themselves to permanently making each other better- both on and off the field- ’til death do they part. In fact, it’s going to be so beautiful, I…I think I’m going to cry.

Oops. Too late.


Music I DARE you to listen to

(As always with musical examples via Youtube, don’t watch the video. Scroll down and follow along with the words below or something. Just don’t watch.)

It’s not that Mandy and I have never shared music; it’s just never been a major connection between us. But when I was a senior in high school and she was a sophomore, we were in the Concert Choir together. And every year, at the spring concert, we’d sing this great piece as a way of saying good-bye to the seniors.

Certainly marriage is not good-bye for you and me Mandy, but the sentiment of the blessing remains true as I hope and pray that married life brings you the same happiness and fulfillment that it has brought to me and millions of others. I love you. See you tomorrow.

And to everyone else, if I don’t see you in So Cal at the wedding or anywhere else this weekend, I’ll see you back here next Wednesday. You stay classy, Planet Earth.

“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.”

P.S. If you liked this piece, you’d like just about anything by John Rutter. To hear more, you can type John Rutter into the Youtube search engine, or if you want specific suggestions, drop me an email and I’ll be happy to give you some.

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Posted in: Life, Music