This is an email letter I wrote to my childhood friend Eric, who, with his wife and family, are missionaries in Thailand — having just moved there from Malay — regarding the nuptials of our mutual friend Christopher and his lovely bride Darya. I didn’t want to lose this to the ages and vagaries of email.
ERRATA: Oops, Eric and his family didn’t move to Thailand, they were just there temporarily. Anyhoo…
Hello Amy and Eric,
[…] I am writing you from late in the evening — oops, uh, early in the morning on Monday, September 5th, local time. Darya Jerdal was married today to Christopher Suleske at roughly 1:10 p.m. — about 12 hours ago — today, here at Fox Island, near Seattle, Washington. The ceremony was absolutely lovely, and perfectly reflected their commitment to each other and to God. Everything about this weekend was mightily auspicious, from the way the originally forecasted gloomy weather became sunny for their wedding vows, to the way that all the people at the event seemed to come together as one voice and one heart. You should definitely drop the happy couple a line or two when you get a chance, although they will likely not receive any email until they return home from their honeymoon in the Greek Isles.
Darya and Christopher’s pastor gave a tremendously powerful sermon and really moved me and the other folks in attendance when his voice broke several times. He told me later that it was only during the ceremony that he realized how important Christopher had become to him in his own life, and how he had come to rely on Christopher’s wise counsel. The tremendous friendship he and his wife — the former Shari Datson, from our 1987 NSHS gradating class, believe it or not! — had developed with Christopher really affected them, and that emotion propelled the ceremony into something beyond most others I’ve attended.
Eric, I know that you know how probing and incisive Christopher’s intellect is, and how it has really helped him reach — and more importantly, *comprehend* — this point in his life. Certainly you’ll appreciate how much of an impact Christopher and his thoughtful ways have had on us in our lives, and understand “Pastor Dan’s” (how we came to refer to him, hopefully there is no disrespect in this appellation) sentiment. He himself — Pastor Dan — shed a few tears during the ceremony, which moved all of us even more. When he called upon the congregated loved ones to devote themselves to the upkeep of Darya and Christopher’s marriage, the response, “WE WILL,” seemed to subtly move the earth into a new shape, as if the soil itself was coaxing itself into some new and unknown configuration that would brace them against foul weather and mood alike.
I had my own private “verklemmt” moment — I hope that joke rings a bell to you, having been on foreign soil for a number of years!? — when the positively radiant little flower girl Kaylie (sp?), now Christopher’s niece I think, came up the aisle with the most beautiful, beatific, loving, heart-breakingly innocent four-year-old smile I’ve seen — well, since my own daughter Evie was a flower-girl at my father’s wedding last year. It really made me homesick for Evie, who, along with Ethan, is with Eleya in Virginia. I completely welled up, since Kaylie made me realize how much my own daughter means to me, and how much even the temporary absence of her little ways, and those of my dear son, rend my heart. How great, how great! seemed my failings as a father, and how small and tender seemed their meager needs as children. We constantly must rededicate our lives to our children, since they are so small and full of trust in us.
Amy, I know you haven’t had much of a chance to know Christopher — nor me, for that matter — but hopefully Eric can tell you a little of how much Christopher has meant to us in our younger days. He and I have remained tremendously close for over 25 years, and I don’t feel guilty in the least saying that this wedding meant more to me than most I have attended, excepting of course my own. He has waited a long time for this wonderful woman, Darya, to arrive in his life, and we are wishing them so much happiness that my heart — even now, when I am truly exhausted, and just trying to tidy up things here so I can sleep before my morning flight back from Washington State to Virginia — overflows so that I am welling up *yet again*. Christopher has been one of the most important people in my life, and although I don’t get to see him as much as I would like anymore, I know that he is building a life of his own, as a mature man and, now, as a husband.
I know that you and your family are in the midst of a *LOT* of activity right now, but I know — as well as I know my own self — that you will send them all the love and prayers you have to offer, so that they will truly enjoy not just this time they spend growing with each other as a couple, but also as members of a larger family and community, and someday eventually, in all likelihood, as parents who pass these responsibilities on to their children. We have met so many of their individual and joint friends this weekend, and all of them expressed, without reservation, their unbridled joy at the marriage of these two great people.
Darya and Christopher are a beautiful and truly blessed couple that have a boundless future together. Just a tenth of the hope and love I have in my heart for them would flatten mountains and boil seas. Please send them your best and keep them in your hearts as they embark on this wonderful, painful, loving, heartbreaking, uplifting, sweet journey we call marriage.
All the best to both of you and your wonderful children Noah and Eliana.
Overflowing with love and emotion,
I plan on responding to your e-mail personally, but just wanted to say here that I’m glad you shared this e-mail with a wider audience. It’s such a great, well-written feel-good e-mail that even people who have no idea who Chris(topher) is can’t possibly help but be drawn into the moment. Thanks for capturing it for me.
P.S. I wrote that last e-mail from Thailand but we’re still living in Malaysia. :^)