A Wedding Story | Here in New England
On a January evening in 2008, Kirsten opened her e-mail and found this message: “What’s up?” It was Tim. She didn’t know that those two words had taken him an entire day to write. “I sat down at the office,” Tim says. “I wrote her a long e-mail. I deleted it. I spent the whole day writing e-mails and deleting them. I did no work. Finally it was 5 p.m. I said, I have to send something. I typed ‘What’s up?’ I pressed send.”
Kirsten took a breath and typed back, “I’m good. You?” Tim told her about his family, making e-mail small talk, as he gingerly felt his way along a path of which he was unsure. “I sat there,” Kirsten remembers. “I said to myself, I’ve had this huge monkey on my back. I have a chance to tell him what I should have told him in Boston.
“I said, ‘I think you should sit down. I have something I want to tell you. Remember that time we met in Boston for dinner? I went to tell you something and I chickened out. I wanted to say, “You are the one. I’ve never stopped loving you.”‘ I touched the send key, and I felt this huge weight come off me. I kept waiting for a reply. Kept waiting. Kept waiting.” Kirsten didn’t know that Tim was crying. Finally he typed again, and the words flew back to Kirsten: “I love you, too.”
On a November day in 2008, Tim drove Kirsten back to their high school. “Twenty-five years ago today,” he said, “I saw you walk into the gym and knew you were the one. I’m sorry this is 15 years too late. But will you marry me?”
They set the date, December 20. A simple affair: parents, siblings, a few friends, the small church on the hill.
You may know what happens next. A week before the wedding, a great ice storm crippled the region. The church had no power; the inn where the guests were to stay had no power. Kirsten’s mother urged the couple to come up with Plan B. “There is no Plan B,” Tim replied. “I’ve waited 25 years to marry you in that church–there is no Plan B.”
Just in time, power was restored to the inn. But that would have been too easy. So on the day of the wedding, a storm roared in, with a foot of snow, making the roads treacherous. But only Tim’s dad, stranded at the airport in Chicago, couldn’t make it to the church.
It was 17 degrees inside. Candles provided the only light. The guests stayed in their cars, motors running, until the last arrivals. Everyone huddled in the first pews. There was nobody on the roads except power crews. It was so still. So quiet.
The Reverend Michael Scott was bundled into an overcoat and scarf. “This was the first time,” he recalled later, “[that] I’d spoken the words, ‘We are gathered here in the sight of God …’ and seen my breath floating out in an icy cloud toward the bride and groom.”
He’d written many words for the occasion, but in the cold, dark church he uttered only a few. “The indestructibility of this wedding ceremony in the face of almost unimaginable adversity suggests that the same might be true of the marriage,” he said. “Make it so.”
So give this story to anyone you know who’s planning a wedding. And if the arrangements are keeping them awake, tell them about Kirsten and Tim. They want everyone to know that months later, after the wedding where everything that could go wrong did go wrong, the only thing that really had to be right was. They’d found each other again. When they tell their story, she blushes, he blushes, and now and then they laugh like two kids.