Today we celebrated Aaron & Abbey’s upcoming marriage with a family bridal shower with members of Abbey’s family. This was the first time I met most of them–her aunts and cousins–and they were delightful. What an interestingly epic thing it is to bring two families together to create a new one! As I learned more about Abbey and her family and heard more stories about how Aaron and Abbey’s lives intersected, over and over again, I was reminded that there is more at stake here than meets the eye. Heaven’s Hand is in our comings and goings.
I remember in April, 1997, John and I were on a travel study trip that included visiting the BYU Jerusalem Center. We attended church there on Shabbat, and after the meeting, as John and I sat in the beautiful Concert Hall looking out over the Old City of Jerusalem, I had a powerful impression flood through my body. The message I received was this: “Do Everything in your power to get your children here.” The impression was so strong, I started crying. It was unexpected and I remember sitting there, trying to compose myself. It was not just a thought or hope or idea. It felt like a command from heaven.
At that time, Aaron was 2 years old. I have never forgotten that impression. Years later, when Claire was deciding what to do with her life, I suggested to her best friend that a study abroad experience would be a great idea. And Jerusalem would be at the top of my list, if I had a choice. Claire was in the room and heard. On her own, she looked up the program and started making her own plans to go. She and her friend went in 2015 as we left for Yakima.
After returning from his mission, it didn’t take much for Claire to convince Aaron to go to Jerusalem before diving into his mechanical engineering program at BYU. Of course, I added my encouragement and support (never forgetting the impression I’d received so long ago). Aaron went in January 2017, I was glad that these two wanted to go and were able to go.
This morning, at this bridal shower, I heard Abbey tell her family the story of how she met Aaron. She said that several of her best friends had gone to Jerusalem and were in Aaron’s study abroad group. This Jerusalem group of friends brought them together. As she told the story, a flood of warmth filled my body and I remembered the feelings I’d had sitting in that concert hall 25 years ago. Those feelings returned today, and I knew that Aaron and Abbey’s paths were meant to cross. I knew it.
So today we celebrated that intersection and their plans to marry in a few weeks. I felt God’s Hand in this merging of our families. I felt this is absolutely right and good. For me, this event was so much more than delicious food, games and gifts. It was a confirmation that things are as they should be.
But the food, games and gifts were also great!
I learned that this is a very musical family! The last game was identifying the titles or artists singing 25 different songs with “love” in the title. I didn’t score so well, but Abbey and her sister knew almost all of them!
Then Abbey opened her gifts. This family is kind and generous.
One especially dear gift was given by Abbey’s Grandma Mary. It was an old Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt made by Mary’s grandmother, Bertha Emery McKean Swain. Abbey has been living in her Grandma Mary’s home the last few months, and this quilt was on her bed. She loved it and Mary has now passed it on to her.
Abbey has a love for quilts and plants and beautiful things–things that matter in this world.
Here is an army of women who will love and support Abbey in the coming years.
Abbey with her sisters and mother: Allison, Susan, Abbey and Anna.
What a wonderful morning. What wonderful memories it brought, what hope for the future!