February 9, 2017
A pastor shared this story online and I have made some amendments to her original to try and insure the anonymity of the couple. I don't remember the pastor, nor even what state it came from. But I think the story is beyond heartwarming, and quite the testimony to the love between the couple and the love of God for all:
A middle-age couple walk in off the street with a marriage license wanting to get married. He's 6 foot tall, she maybe 5 feet on her tiptoes. They have the license, they have the rings, they just need a pastor willing to do the ceremony today if possible. I talk with them for a while. She is a manager at a fast-food restaurant. He is a truck driver. Both are currently homeless and living at a shelter. They have dated and been together for several years. She finally proposed to him by saying, "can I keep you?" A chuckle erupts by us all. They are in scruffy, soiled clothing and have second-hand pawn shop rings. The life they have known has been visibly hard. My secretary and someone from next door serve as witnesses as I perform the ceremony and solemnize their relationship. He tears up at the vows. She gets up on her tiptoes as they exchange the kiss at the end of the ceremony. It is a long, deep kiss and the love they share is genuine and visible. I ask them what they are planning to do now, and her response is direct and simple. "We're going to show the marriage license to the folks down at the shelter so we can be together tonight instead of having to go to the separate men and women areas." She tears up as she looks at him and says, "I just don't want to have to leave you at night and be alone no more." My heart feels the weight of their lives. This is a grace moment, when suddenly my troubles and the cares that seemed so important a few minutes ago evaporate as the mist gathers in my own eyes.
And I have to admit, their story gathers mist in my eyes, too.