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Bells of Joy

April 30, 2011- It was a day I will always remember. It had been a week mixed with business, old memories, reunions and delightful magic in New York City. After all the waiting, planning, and struggles, the day finally arrived. Holding my father’s bible close to my heart I walked down 8thAvenue, the very street in which I had once wandered lost and hungry. Only now, I walked with the anticipation of a bridegroom. I was surrounded by my band of American brothers whom I had somehow been blessed to share my life with. Each represented the man I wanted to be and I felt surrounded by greatness. They had prayed over me, supported me with their strength and now they walked with me to the church where a new chapter of my life was about to begin.

St. Paul’s church stood majestically in the middle of 22nd Street. Perhaps it was the fact that future king of England had just been married a few hours prior to this, or the fact that everyone had come to the church dressed in vintage clothing and head pieces that led me to feel like I had stepped back to my childhood in Wales. I felt a peace wash over me that day as I waited for my bride to arrive.

Voices of worship filled the looming ceiling of the church that afternoon as I took my place beside my bestmen at the altar. This was one of the rare moments in life when I felt the presence of my creator swirling around me affirming that I was in the palm of His mighty hand. The shofar sounded and the door opened to reveal my bride dressed in lace. She was bathed by the creamy sunlight that streamed through the stain glass and washed over her. Joy had arrived for us! There would be no more waiting.

She walked towards me slowly as joy bubbled within me. Our entire journey flashed in my mind as I fixed my eyes on her own radiant ones. I imagined my father smiling down at us. I watched my mother witness her answered prayers, and I held the precious hands of my beloved in my mine. Surrounded by those I love and in the presence of the author of our story, I gave myself to Angel at long last.

Every word that was sung or spoken was meaningful. The FAT kids led the choir in glorious anthem. We exchanged rings and vows. There was so much love and joy in the room and it radiated like a burning flame. Time stood still as I kissed the lips of my new wife and our friends and family jumped up in thunderous applause and cheers.

I took a million mental snapshots that day. I remember the hugs that spoke volumes of love, the speeches that honored our lives, the laughter of my mother, the way the warm sun hit our face as we exited the church to a shower of bird seeds, the vision of my friends dancing all through the night in candlelight and moonlight, and not to mention the vision of my bride who sparkled like a jewel. But the thing that moved me most that day was grace.

It was grace that brought me this far. I saw grace in my friends who rallied around me, working tirelessly to make this the most magical day Angel and I could have dreamed of. I saw it from people who had traveled from all corners of the world to share this with us, and many who were unable to come but witnessed the live screening of the union. I felt grace in the promises and dreams that suddenly seemed possible. I felt loved beyond measure and my cup ran over with abundance.

Following a brief honeymoon in a cozy cottage in Connecticut, and a short period of rest in New York City, I returned to LA with my wife and carried her over the threshold to our life together. Our journey had begun…

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