Patrick and I recently had the privilege of doing pre-marital counseling with a couple we met just a couple months ago. They asked him if he would officiate their wedding last weekend, and despite my warnings that he has only officiated one other wedding in which he veered from the wife-approved script (No, I will never let you live this down, my darling!), it was still a go.
The whole family went to the rehearsal dinner which was held at Alisal Ranch in Solvang. It was like being transported to another world and time. The entrance road was lined with whitewashed bungalows with black shutters and plumply red-cushioned wicker furniture. We were transported by hayride from the wedding site to a beautiful lake surrounded by native oaks and dotted with reeds. The deck was full of picnic tables adorned with charming red and white gingham tableclothes and happy, bright daisies. It was truly an idyllic setting.
We took a little motorboat out on the lake and fished for bass in the well-stocked lake. The resident, majestic bald eagle swooped down to catch fish for his own dinner and chatter and laughter echoed from the other guests enjoying the afternoon.
"We've got to come back here for a little family getaway," we all agreed. In our conversations, we planned a trip and decided that in 4 years it could be the site for our 20th wedding anniversary. Great expectations.
As much as we enjoyed that evening, I don't think we fully embraced the experience, because we knew we would come back. Our intentions, however, were foiled when we came home and searched the internet and came upon Alisal Ranch's website. The least it would cost to stay at the ranch would be $495... per night. Ouch!
Had we known it would be a once in a lifetime experience, I would have...
brought my camera
taken part in more activites
lived it to the very fullest
...and I would have not delayed any joy for another time.
When my sister-in-law, Lisa, closes a letter, she writes:
I really like that. I am often guilty of delaying joy. And I tend to not choose joy when I am going through a trial. I forget that I have a God that is weightier than any trial I may be facing, and I forget that he wants me to live life to its very fullest, infused with His joy... every day. There is not a time, after jumping many hurdles when I will arrive at joy. It is a choice. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is difficult, but it is my choice.
Nehemiah said it well...
"Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 8:10
Are you choosing joy today?