Hello again friends from my side of the world wide web. It’s been some time since my last post. But I assure you, for very good reasons. First, on the 13th of June I got married, thereby necessitating that the next few weeks of my life be invested fully in another person – perhaps for the first time ever. Sad, now that I think about it, and very probably true. Since then I have been honeymooning, moving, and family reunion-ing.
Of course, the wedding weekend was in and of itself very nearly a tall tale. We were, and are, beyond grateful that much of our family and many of our closest friends were there to celebrate with us. As is rightly said, it wouldn’t have been the same had you not been there.
Joyous as it all was, Friday night and the rehearsal dinner made for quite the experience. First, a boisterous storm and accompanying tornado came rip-roaring through humid Memphis, TN at about 5:30 pm, just as we were all freshly cleaned, ironed and prepping to head out the door for practice and bar-b-que, Memphis style. And an angry, creative storm it was, tearing apart trees and showing off some muscle for a solid thirty minutes. Naturally we delayed the proceedings and instead gathered in the stairwells and hallways of our Comfort Suites (which, by the way, I recommend heartily), laptops and blackberries firmly in hand, online dopplers on refresh repeat. There we sat, laughing it off with a less than creative joke or two and the more or less encouraging thought that one day we’ll have a whale of a tale for the future Kern generations. Eventually, the rains ceased, the surprisingly loud tornado alarms were silenced and off we paraded to the church for what promised to be an evening of practically minded excitement. Right…
Then we arrived.
[Although I forgot to mention the rather embarrassing tid-bit wherein I called my friend Aaron, thinking he was in another car, when actually he was perched comfortably behind me, snickering his way through AN ENTIRE CONVERSATION. As I closed my cellphone a hairy arm, unmistakably belonging to a sniggering Aaron, reached around my headrest and passed forward the iPOD about which I was calling. Must have been nervous.]
Unfortunately, two of the bridesmaids, who were still on the road were delayed by the tornado and we were forced to start a bit late. Thankfully they arrived safely, albeit clearly and rightly rattled. They were very gracious to stick with us though and were very supportive throughout the weekend. Thanks!
But sooner or later we got to practicin’ – the anticipation of the soon-to-arrive food growing stronger bit by bit, minute by minute, practice vow by practice vow, until we were done and we realized the food had not yet arrived – 45 minutes after it was supposed to have been delivered. Soon it was an hour. My mother, bless her, spent an irritating half hour on the phone, efforting some sort of seemingly impossible knowledge as to the whereabouts of the mysterious bar-b-que. The restaurant had no idea. He should have been by an hour earlier. Yes, we knew that, thankyouverymuch. Another quarter of an hour passed. The another. And then we found out that the delivery guy had gotten lost, delivered the food (for 50 people) to another event (of 500 people), and now there were two groups of hungry citizens feeling gipped and trying to think of new less than creative jokes to help laugh it off. I can’t speak to the creativity of the 450 hungry people at the other event, but on our end we spent an eventful and grace-filled hour eating ice cream first, with a side of corn-on-the-cob and a healthy helping of watermelon to boot as we gathered around my musically talented friend Tyler (not my only musically talented friend, mind you, just the one who we asked to play) and, in the dim light of the setting sun, sang hymns and other uplifting songs like “Ring of Fire” and the like. Meanwhile, my strapping, motorcycle ridin’ uncle Nate graciously drove the thirty minutes cross town and thirty back to ensure that we had a tasty (and now free) bar-b-que dinner.
All in all we left the church that Friday night a bit frazzled and slightly stressed but thankful for the friendships and grace that were on display that night. And eventually the power came back on at Bethany’s folks’ house.
By God’s grace Saturday was an entirely different, stress-free, exciting experience. The ceremony and the reception went off without a hitch (unless you consider my awkward slow dancing a hitch) and we had a marvelous time celebrating with everyone.
Behold, my bride and I, happy:
Thanks to our friend Ryan Thompson for taking the great photos.
The next day, as most couples do, we hit the road for our honeymoon to Bald Head Island, North Carolina, the northern-most, sub-tropical island in existence, or something hyphenated and prefixed and important like that. It’s a beautiful little village island, void of cars and home to transportation by electric golf cart, bike, or – gasp – the foot. BHI is also home to a gorgeous maritime forest and mysterious, beautiful swamp lands that look a little something like this image from a favorite movie of mine:
We spent a lovely eight days together canoeing, hiking, eating, resting, taking photographs, nature watching and laughing a great deal. Honeymoons are great (or at least mine was), I recommend them.
But on our last day there we had an experience that I won’t likely soon forget, one that reminded of the Sovereign Grace of our watchful God, one that reminded me of the truth that He is there and He is certainly planning:
On our last evening on the island we decided to take in an unusually early supper at about 5 pm, a good three hours earlier than we had any other evening. I was interested in the fish and chips in this little sea side restaurant. Anyway, longish story sort of shorter, the food looked awful and they didn’t have the fish and chips their ads promised so we ordered a mediocre appetizer to hold us over and decided to head down to the beach to check out the famous, and aptly named, Cape Fear.
Cape Fear has long been called the “graveyard of the Atlantic” because of the danger it poses to unsuspecting ships. Rumor has it there are several lost treasures buried just off shore. Per it’s name, the cape juts out in the ocean and is surrounded by some lengthy, but mostly hidden shoals that dot the edge of the island. Meanwhile, the tides come from both sides of the cape and the shoals, on one side from the Atlantic Ocean, on the other from the Intra-coastal Waterway. The waves, already quite large and more or less menacing, crash up against one another with mesmerizing ferocity, calling to mind the mythical images of Poseidon aboard his chariot, trident in hand. They create a kind of odd, obviously dangerous whirlpool. It doesn’t take one long to understand how these seemingly safe shores would have captured many unsuspecting ships. Naturally, Cape Fear is quite the site to see.
So there we were taking pictures and a bit of video when suddenly two kids – brothers, about 16 and 12, run off into the shallow part of the water, right off the cape, out onto the shoals. At first they seemed okay, equipped with boogie boards and clearly good swimmers and I turned away for a moment so we could take a photo together. When I turned around again the boys were a solid 100 yards out at sea, straight out in fact, for the cape doesnt’ toss you parallel with th shore, but rather drags you straight out. It was hard to tell at first whether they boys had gone so far out of their own volition or whether they were in real danger. When it became clear that they were not in a place they should be I decided I needed to call 911.
Now, this was the first time we had carried a cellphone with us all week long and we only had it because that afternoon Bethany wanted to get some photos and she went out for a few minutes while I watched the US Open. She figured we might want to communicate so she shoved my phone into her camera bag. So this one time, thank God, we had the phone with us and I was able to call for help and, thankfully, the boys were rescued, in the nick of time from what I understand. When they were brought to shore they asked if we had heard them screaming for help, which we hadn’t, the waves were so loud. They were really pleasant guys, abundantly grateful we were there and had thought to call. And it was certainly great to be there and to help out. But then we started to think about what had happened, the events that had transpired.
First, there was the cell phone thing. We hadn’t had it with us any time before on the trip. Also we hadn’t eaten at that restaurant at all before that evening, the restaurant didn’t have the food we wanted and so we left early, we had the cameras with us and so we stayed near the cape longer than we otherwise would have, and then we came to find out that very rarely does a cell phone actually work out on the beach. The fire and rescue chief told us that his never gets signal out there. But ours did. If ever there was a time when the Lord orchestrated an event in my life it was this one. There is no doubt in our minds but that he placed us there in that time, in that place with a purpose, with a part to play. And I thank Him for that. He is sovereign, He is good.
It is a wonderful thing to be set in a specific, carefully planned place and time, to fulfill specific purposes and to know specific people; to be given the opportunity to be led and to do according to the creativity of an omnipotent Creator.
With this truth in mind:
In the days to come I’ll be posting a number of interesting links and tid-bits I’ve been saving up for you.
Meanwhile, check out this interesting look at Andy Serkis’ performance as Screwtape in Focus On the Family Radio Theatre’s forthcoming dramatic adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s famous book The Screwtape Letters.