Steve wore his newly-issued dress whites. I wore a beautiful hand-me-down wedding gown and veil. Mom bought fabric and made the bridesmaids' dresses. My bouquet was a sheaf of lilies, freshly cut from my great aunt and uncle's yard that morning.
My sister paid for the invitations that we had mailed out earlier. She also played the piano at our wedding. My granddaddy performed the service, and we were married in the church that Steve's granddaddy had helped build.
The reception was at my parents' house, the only home I had any memory of - we moved there when I was two, I think. My cousin baked and decorated a fabulous wedding cake, and we served punch, nuts, and home-made cream-cheese mints.
I don't remember thinking that a single thing about the entire day was anything less than perfect. We were surrounded by family and friends, and showered with so much love and kindness.
Steve and I may not have been rich, but we were very richly blessed.
This past week, a woman who thought she knew a little bit about my family came up to me and introduced herself. In the course of our brief conversation, this lady commented, "I don't know how you and Steve have managed this year. You poor things...several kids going to college full-time, a daughter getting married in the spring, now another wedding coming up this fall!"
"Oh, you don't understand!" I exclaimed. But at this point, our little conversation was interrupted. I didn't have the opportunity to explain to her that...
The wedding this past spring? Grammy bought the wedding gown, a dear friend shared her wedding veil, and an aunt provided the flowers. Grandmother sewed the maid of honor's dress, and the MOB felt beautiful in a new dress given to me by my step-mother.
The music was provided by several of the bride's very talented friends from school. Another special friend served as photographer for the day. Even the reception was a community effort, with ladies from two churches and our entire community of family and friends pitching in to help decorate, prepare food, and serve.
It was a day filled with joy and laughter, prayers and hugs, worship and celebration.
And those full-time college students my new acquaintance mentioned? I didn't have a chance to explain to her that - with academic scholarships and part-time jobs - they have each managed to pay for college entirely on their own. Tuition, books, clothes, transportation, everything. I am so thankful these kids are hard-working and healthy! They have in no way created a financial burden for our family, but have been tremendous blessings instead.
All this to say...
Sheila, if you're out there somewhere reading this post, I want to tell you - No, no we are not "poor" at all. We may not have much money in the bank, but we are rich...
Very richly blessed indeed!