Monday, June 6, 2016

They will make beautiful music together

Last Sunday night I went fishing with Jesse, my 22-year-old son, in the little pond near our house. He said after a cast, “Dad, this morning was the last time I will drive to church as a single man.” That’s because today he will marry his best friend and favorite singer, Koehna. We talked about some of the “last time as a single” moments he’s been piling up over the past few months, and the exciting firsts that lie ahead. We have talked many times about the blessing of entering a marriage with no regrets and a clear conscience, of striving to “love your wife as Christ loved the church,” of being a man who stays, who doesn’t run away when difficult days come. Today, Jesse’s life will change forever.

My, how the years have rolled past. One of Cindy’s favorite memories of Jesse was when he appeared to her after church one morning with hot chocolate dripping off his face and a cup of the steaming stuff in his hands. He held it up and said, “Mom, will you ‘bwoh’ this for me?”

One of our treasured home movies includes a two-minute solo of Jesse belting out “Bare Necessities” in his pajamas one evening when he was 4 years old. It’s a classic, including his inventive re-scripting, as Jesse sang, “the simple bare neh-whessipees.” We knew then that this little boy loved music, and when he asked for his first guitar at age 8, we did not hesitate. Here we are years later, and through diligence, dedication, and the Lord’s blessing, Jesse has become a skilled craftsman with his instrument and his pen. His song, “Truly Dear” is garnishing attention from music lovers everywhere, and his band, “Love and Valor” is being blogged about by people all over the country.

I am not surprised. Jesse has always been a keen observer of what is going on around him, and can quickly articulate a response, usually a funny one. He has made us laugh until we are struggling to breathe at the dinner table. I can remember on more than one occasion at a family meal being thankful that there is a bathroom just a few steps away. Most of us have had to run there after a crack by Jesse threatened to turn our mouthful of tea into a family shower.

But Jesse is more than a comedian. He also is the one we could always count on at church or community events to befriend the little boy that everyone else seemed to be ignoring. He cares about people and relationships, and that comes through loud and clear in his music. And in his life.

One recent conversation we shared, through tears, blessed me beyond words. Jesse was telling his mom and me about spending several hours recently praying, while he fished the pond alone. He asked the Lord to help him love Koehna with the love that can only come from Him, and to always be patient and tender with her. My fifth-born is still a young man, for sure, but his heart spoke wisdom beyond his years.

Jesse reeled in two large-mouth bass last Sunday evening as the sun went down while our Golden Retriever happily splashed in the water nearby. Today, he will complete an even bigger catch, and Jesse and Koehna will begin their life together, as husband and wife. Their harmonies will be even sweeter, their music more true, and their love for Jesus more complete.

I am proud of you, son.

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