Photo Credit: Noel Walker Photography
On Tuesday, I wasted a lot of time.
On Tuesday, my roommate got married. I was in charge of decorating the reception, and I had every hour of the day sketched out in my head.
None of it was supposed to be wasted.
A lot of it was.
It started with the centerpieces. They were supposed to have wheatgrass growing lusciously in them, but it was clear from a couple of days in advance that the wheatgrass was going to be more straggly than luscious.
On Monday, I went to Home Depot and explored my options, took pictures of different foliage to replace the wheatgrass, priced out ideas, etc. I discussed the centerpieces with the appropriate parties, made sure I had enough cash in my wallet, and checked to see what time Home Depot opened in the morning.
I was up past 10 pm on Monday because of rehearsal and ceremony decorating, and then I got up at 6 am on wedding day to go buy sod.
Neither of my thumbs is green (which is partly why I was in this predicament in the first place, let’s be honest), so I was just sure it was going to take me hours to cut the sod into fourteen even rectangles, put them in the planters, clean the dirt off my floor, etc.
So I called my landscaping friend and asked for a sod-cutting tool. He was like, “sure, I’ll bring it over on my way to work.” So I sat there until almost 9:00, waiting for the sod-cutting tool.
OMG, all I could concentrate on was the fact that time was a-wasting. It was like over two hours from the time I got the sod home until the time I got the tool. “I’m wasting time, I’m wasting time, I’m wasting time” became a mantra that I forced out of my head every few minutes.
“I’m wasting time” – no, go clean the kitchen.
“I’m wasting time” – no, go spend time with Jesus.
“I’m wasting time” – no, go load more things into the car.
“I’m wasting time” – no, check the to-do lists one more time.
I had to keep coaching myself that God is the author of time; He has known since before the beginning of time how long it would take the sod cutting tool to get here; He knows exactly how much time it will take to cut the sod and clean up after it in my living room; I can trust Him because He has already shown me how much He loves me by sending His Son Jesus.
So anyways, fastforward to 8:45 or so. My friend brought the sod-cutting tool, I started sawing away, it went by super fast, and I was done in less than an hour, including clean up. What was I so worried about, right?
I hung out with my other roommate (the one not getting married) for a bit, and left my house fashionably early to pick up the Mother of the Bride to take her to where the women were getting ready for the wedding.
I was in charge of one bridesmaid’s hair, and of COURSE she had super thick hair and wanted ringlets all over. I rolled and curled and pinned, the whole time fighting away the thought, “I’m wasting time. I need to get to the church. I’m wasting time. I should be decorating right now.”
Again: I can trust God; He has shown me and the bride and groom that He loves us, because He sent His only Son at exactly the right time in history; He has shown us that Jesus committed the ultimate act of love (dying in our place); because of that act of love, He is the great Husband to His bride, the Church, whom He has made pure; therefore, He knows exactly how much time I’m going to need to get the reception decorated.
I finished the bridesmaid’s hair, threw on makeup and my own outfits, dragged the rollers out of my hair (yes, I had been wearing rollers to Home Depot), and rushed off to the church, humming “Get Me to the Church on Time.”
To my utter astonishment, the wedding coordinator at the church said we could get into the courtyard (reception space) immediately! It was only 1-something pm, and we hadn’t expected to be able to get into there until 4 pm. Amazing! God was gracing me with extra time.
The old church takes up an entire city block, so I asked the wedding coordinator: how do I get this stuff in the chapel from here to the courtyard? She directed me to carry it all by hand to the other side of the church. Ummm…okay. I didn’t know my way around, so I trusted her and spent an entire hour moving all the stuff up stairs, through hallways, down stairs, etc. Then when I was all done and asked if she could open the courtyard door for me to unload my car, she was like, “Oh, I have some guys who can help with that.”
She sent over the two custodians and a golf cart, and they had my car unloaded in less than 10 minutes. Then it took them less than 10 minutes to get all the stuff I’d just spent an hour moving! Uuuuuuuuuugh, I’d just spent an hour and 20 minutes of my precious time unnecessarily just MOVING STUFF!
Deep breath, Charity. You’ve still got over an hour until the volunteers get here at 4. You can still get stuff done in that time.
But she just wasted over an hour of my time! Think how much I could have gotten done (with less blood and sweat) if she’d just called the golf cart guys in the beginning.
It’s okay. God authored time itself, and He already has a plan for today; He ordained marriage, and He has a plan for this wedding; you are going to accomplish exactly what He means for you to accomplish – nothing more, nothing less.
I did get heaps and heaps of stuff done before the volunteers started arriving. They all started showing up right on time, and I even had more volunteers than I’d planned for!
We were moving right along, and I was about ready to do a final round to check up on the details, when a bridesmaid came to me and said that one of the important people in the wedding had left her dress back at the apartment where we’d all gotten ready that morning. It would be impossible to start the wedding without that dress, so through at least a dozen phone calls to apartment managers and people who lived near the apartment, someone went to pick up the dress.
And promptly got stuck in rush-hour traffic, along with the pastor, the DJ, and dozens of guests. I and the other volunteers were getting texts: “stuck in traffic, be there soon,” “stuck on the 163, hope I’m not late,” etc.
By that time, I was so used to my timing being thrown off that all I had to do was put a smile on and keep the sound guy informed of possible delays, knowing it would soooooo not be the end of the world.
Which is saying something, because Charity J. Edwards does NOT start weddings late. Ever. I think this is the first wedding I’ve ever coordinated that I’ve purposely let start late.
And it wasn’t even THAT late. The dress showed up one minute before the wedding was supposed to start, so we let the straggler guests find their seats and cued the sound guy six minutes late. Not too shabby.
Everything from that moment on was exactly on time. The bride and groom even left 15 minutes earlier than the planned time, which meant the DJ played an extra 15 minutes of energetic music while people stayed and helped clean up. (It’s amazing what can get done with 30-40 extra people hanging out and cleaning up for 15 extra minutes.)
I went home after a record clean-up time with sore feet and a happy heart and slept for many, many hours.
As I looked back the next day, I realized a bit more of God’s plan for the day. Of course, His plan was that my (now former) roommate and her husband be joined in holy matrimony. Of course, His plan was that the Gospel be proclaimed to the guests.
But His plan was also that the Gospel be played out in my life. The truth is, I’m unable to make anything go my way in life; I’m unable to make sure I get to heaven; I’m even unable to stop sinning sometimes, seems like (even in the middle of watching God orchestrate the day and noticing His blessings, I still snapped at someone and had to apologize later). God, knowing I am helpless to save myself from my own sin, sent Jesus – right on time – to save me from it.
The Gospel and my roommate’s wedding both remind me that I’m not in control. I’m not charge. Someone ultimately bigger and better was. Is. Always.
I had been thinking I was a major player in the game of “Wedding Day,” when really I was a game piece. I’d been thinking I was a painter, and I was really the brush. I’d been thinking I was the writer of the play, when really I was a minor character – or a member of the chorus.
And what better place to be than in the chorus line, cheering on two people who have FINALLY received the gift of marriage after 30+ and 40+ years of waiting? And what better thing to do than cheer on the God that brought them together (and cared about the centerpieces and the courtyard) in the best timing ever?
Photo Credit: Noel Walker Photography