I’m writing this from Delta flight 1041 seat 40A. The last 48 hours I’ve been in the Florida Keys to officiate a wedding. The bride is a long time family friend and the groom is a young man marked with instant like-ability. This was not your average wedding.

We all stayed at a resort in Islamorada. It was beautiful and unlike anywhere I’d ever stayed. The welcome dinner, hosted by the groom’s parents was held at the Lorelei Yacht Club. There were delicious appetizers, great conversations, new and old friends, a southern barbeque dinner, and we were treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets possible. Saturday was a day to enjoy the sun and facilities. I spent my time reading, floating in the warm ocean water, frogging around in the pool, and soaking up the sunshine.

When evening came we made our way to Pierre’s for the ceremony. The restaurant is a large two story plantation style building complete with a wraparound porch and wreaking with history. Post fishing adventure photos of Jimmy Stewart and the like hung on the walls. Outside, white chairs arranged on the coral sand, blue sky meeting azure water, and swaying palm trees constructed our sanctuary. Flower pedals fluttered and tumbled down the isle. A stringed trio played the processional.

It was like something out of a magazine.

We loved the accommodations. We appreciated the hospitality. But what I will remember the rest of my life was the community I sensed. I’m guessing about 90-100 people joined us for the weekend. Each of them deeply connected to Cam and George. Each one invested. Each one has shaped and been shaped by this amazing couple. As we began…them hand in hand facing their guests I paused. I said, “We’re not going to rush through this moment. Look at your friends and family. Drink this in and let the scene be etched on your hearts and seared into your memory.” Then I stated, “Everyone I’ve met is thrilled to know you, proud of who you are, and grateful that you are in their lives.”

During the weekend I felt blessed. (I rarely use that word because it seems so over used.) But I had an overwhelming sense of how rich I am. Rich because of the relationships I have. Rich because God has brought so many wonderful people into my life. I also had the realization that I was enjoying so much that I don’t deserve, cannot afford, and which brought renewed life into a thirsty soul.