Last Saturday I was honored to be asked to officiate the wedding of the daughter of a good friend of mine. Amid the usual pre-wedding chaos of last minute setup, groom waiting impatiently for his best man to arrive (late because he was actually at a store at that moment buying a pair of black shoes to go with his suit–I am not making this up–nice shoes, though), bridesmaids primping and attending the bride in her beautiful dress, photographer flashing in all directions…a little girl, about four years old caught my eye. Gorgeous little thing with huge dark eyes and long dark hair. Turned out to be the flower girl named Madeline who wasn’t going to throw petals but carry a bunch, she told me.
At the climax of the ceremony with bride and groom facing each other in front of me, I ask if they have their rings. And in that breathless moment when you could hear a pin drop as the best man in his new shoes and the maid of honor are producing the bands and giving them to the almost new couple, a little flower girl voice pipes up at full volume, “I want a ring too!”
It takes a while to recover from that kind of laughter.
Now I get to thinking that we have and always will continue to to draw on Jesus’ parallels between children and Kingdom, but sometimes a moment just rises up and slaps you in the face with its simplicity and unselfconscious exuberance. We all want rings too, don’t we? We all want to be brides and grooms in beautiful clothes at the center of attention in that breathless moment before launching into new lives and new love. We all want rings too–but how many of us will just blurt it out in front of a big room full of people?
Why is it only the four year olds among us who have the audacity to announce their hearts’ desires and fully extend toward them. It’s not so much about not caring what people may think as much as not even being aware that anyone is watching or listening at all as we move fully extended toward life and love and all the things that really matter. It’s about being so immersed in the dance that nothing but I and Thou and the Music exist as we reach, with everything that is in us, for new life–creating beautiful lines of expression in the process.