The most notable absence that I felt this past weekend at my son's wedding was the absence of my mom, who passed away nearly a year ago.
She never got the opportunity to meet my new daughter-in-law, but I know she would have fallen in love with her. Ava is just the kind of girl that Mom would have loved in an instant, and she would have been so happy that her grown-up-grandson had found his person.
I thought that I was going to feel my Mom's absence more deeply than I did. I was worried that my sadness would cast a pall on the wedding festivities, but those fears were unfounded. I felt nothing but sheer joy, gratitude, and peace.
The source of much of that peace came from the fact that my mom got to participate in the wedding in a very direct way.
I was tasked with creating a digital slideshow made up of photos of Ava and Jay from childhood to their engagement. Ava's parents provided me with ample baby and early childhood photos of her, but I didn't have very many early photos of Jay that had been converted to digital format.
So I went to my mom's Facebook page and started browsing her photos. Sure enough, she'd posted dozens of Jay as a baby and a little boy. I wasn't surprised.
As I watched the finished slideshow unfold on my computer, I whispered under my breath, "Thanks, Mom. I should have known you'd come to my rescue."
At that moment, I felt the grace of God well up inside of me and was filled with such blessed peace. I felt as though a stone was being lifted off of my heart.
Richard Rohr writes about how so many of us spend too much time and energy trying to discover God's peace and blessings outside of ourselves through affirmation, and acclamation, or through the strength of our own hands.
What God desires us to do instead, is to retrieve God's peace and blessings from where they've always been---all around us, in us and through us.
May you find rest for what troubles you today by retrieving it from within your heart and soul where God has placed God's peace since before time began.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.