by Jay O'Toole
This is chapter #23 of The Quest for Home, my NaNoWriMo novel for November 2017.
Living Hope, no price on tag,
Home is found in Love.
Loving knows no need to brag,
Peace is known as Dove.
The Royal Wedding
Let the reader have no concern. When Saturday arrived the wedding was your average, "run-of-the-mill," awesome affair with the bride and groom "dressed to the nines," with greenery placed or growing everywhere, (which made the scene look like a forest or jungle) and with twinkling lights strategically placed, creating a "sky-come-down-to-Earth" effect.
Amazing is too average of a word to describe this wedding, but until we can learn or invent some new word to adequately describe the "everything" of this wedding, then "awesome" will have to do.
What wondrous music to open the service. Singing and playing on the piano, the violin, the viola, the cello and the bass expressed the joy of the day with descant provided by the trill of the flute.
The processional was as majestic as processionals typically are. The bride virtually glided down the petal-strewn aisle, looking regal and radiant at the same time. The groom awaited her arrival with the aspect of a knight, being presented to the royal family. The bride's father was a puddle of tears, but his wife maintained strong support with a semblance of decorum.
The photographer was a hardy "friend-of-the-family" sort of chap, who provided his services free of charge, meaning that some of the pictures were worth every penny. The half of the photographs that were properly lit were magnificent. The other half of the pictures were blackened to the point of mystery. (One would suppose that the flash and the shutter speeds were not running side-by-side in the race to priceless memories. In other words, an ox and a donkey in the same yolk do not pull a straight furrow.)
The Unity Candles provided another whimsical touch. (Note to self: "Do not use metal candles, unless properly trained to twist the same out of their holders. Improper training [or lack thereof] will tend to provide a snuffing effect.) For this reason Quest in his typical quick-thinking manner grabbed two candles out of the candelabra to his right, handed one to his beautiful bride, and continued with the ceremonial joining of the flames without a second thought.
One would think that typical awesomeness would have little place for hilarity in such a solemn occasion, but just the opposite was the reality of the events as they transpired. Next up was the Ring Ceremony. However, when Quest looked at his Best Man for the ring to give his bride, the Best Man shrugged as if to say, "Search me! I don't have it!" It was then that the groom's heart sunk. He then remembered that he had forgotten to bring the bride's ring from the dressing room, subsequently neglecting to give it the Best Man. Turning to the bride, he whispered, "I don't have the ring." To this, the bride, a quick thinker in her own right, turned her engagement ring upside down, took it off, surreptitiously handing it to her distraught groom, who just as deftly returned it to her by placing it on the appropriate finger, while repeating after the officiating minister.
Good times were had by all. Some assembly required. Laughter provided the best medicine to the momentary embarrassments of lasting memories made.
As "hindsight is twenty-twenty," the same makes a most excellent teacher. However, some things are "once-in-a-lifetime." Therefore, this precludes going back to change anything for the better. Chalk it up to c'est la vie. Such is life. Live and learn.
Why the ominous background information? The royal wedding of Quest & his Lady began at 7:00 PM on August the First, which one would consider convenient for family and friends, since the sun was still a glistening orb in the sky at that time of day on that day of the year. However, traditional wedding ceremonies are not the sort of "say a few words, kiss your bride and then run out the door" sort of events. OH. NO. Traditional weddings require three or four meaningful-but-long and arduous ceremonies within the ceremony, "three points and a poem," two or three songs sung to the couple and by the couple to each other. The recessional ends the service, officially, with the birdseed "dandruff" coating the fur of the "happy new couple," while they go to take the faux "get-away" photo, before they march in the reception, which requires eating and greeting and more eating and greeting, plus the opening of the presents, kissing and hugging all the family and friends once or twice or three or four times, while they tell you and retell you every funny story of their own wedding days. This puts the couple leaving the reception to go to their honeymoon spot around 10:30 or 11:00 at night. If it takes another hour to get to the honeymoon spot, then the couple is so tired they need to go straight to bed,...for sleeping purposes. "I'm sorry, My Dear," they mutually confess. "I don't have the energy left to open, even one more present. Let's discuss that in the morning. Okay? Zzzzzzzzzz..."
That's where the Note to Self comes to light. Note to Self: "If I had it to do, all over, again, then I would schedule the wedding for 2:00 in the afternoon. That makes much more sense, don't you think?"
Future couples might consider the Selfie Wedding. Hold up your iPhone with the minister waving in the background. Post it to FurrFace with the inscription, "Preacher says, 'They did!'" The new couple can always Photo Shop in all the guests they want, when they come back from the honeymoon. You'll be just as married, and nobody's the wiser.
"Home Sweet Apartment-Sized Den"
One would think that a bear, who was as old as a human in his fifties, would be settled enough to own his own home, being pretty much set for life. However, the truth remains that Quest had only been 57 for a few days, having just landed his first "real" job, meaning that his first "real" relationship created a new marriage in very short order.
An apartment was truly the best he could do on such short notice.
The newlyweds arrived at the apartment one day after their one-night honeymoon because he hadn't had time to earn enough money to take his bride on a week-long vacation.
"I am so glad that Lady loves me for who I am, not for my money. If that were the case, then I would be in big trouble," Quest thought. "I'm not very socially adept. I don't have much money. I not very handsome. I'm not that skilled in a lot of areas, but I just love her. I am committed to her with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I sure hope that's enough."
31 years later, Quest had learned amazingly that was still enough.
The quest for home had been a long journey, and it had been difficult to comprehend. For much of the way Quest thought that finding home was a matter of locating a place that would forever be peaceful and enriching to the person he was as a growing and now aging bear. In the process of that part of the journey, he felt like he had been "knocked from pillar to post." He lived in many dens of varied comforts throughout his life, but none of the dens had ever, really felt like home. He kept searching and searching and searching... He was always disappointed. Rarely peaceful, often fretful, he was always in search of a place to call, "Home."
As a young bear The Big Choice of accepting D'Oso Reimi's Gift of Salvation was the turning point in his life. On that day he started to realize that "home" might not be a place at all. Though it would take many years for him to become settled in this new viewpoint, Quest finally focused all of his mental, emotional and spiritual faculties on finding his place of rest, his place of peace, his place of hope,...in a word, his HOME in the Person of D'Oso.
He was never as peaceful, never as at ease nor never as fully himself as he was, when he was standing near D'Oso.
Quest had tried to find his home in den after den after den...
Quest had tried to find his home in Casa, but finally Casa was gone.
Quest had found some new solace in Ethelene, but finally Ethelene was gone.
Quest had found great restoration of joy, of purpose, of peace and of life itself in his bride, Lady, but even there something was missing.
The quest for home was always a pursuit.
The quest for home was never arriving.
The quest for home was always grasping.
The quest for home was never holding.
D'Oso Reimi started to walk with Quest on a daily basis. The two of them had deep, long conversations about the woundings and bruisings of childhood as well as the very meaning of life itself. Quest shared his disappointment at losing Ossie at such an early age. He wondered why seemingly everything in life was so temporary. "Why can't I ever find a restful spot for relaxing, for restoration and for complete wholeness?" he asked.
"I will never leave you nor forsake you," D'Oso quoted Hebrews 13:5.
As a much older bear, Quest had finally realized the truth. "D'Oso made me the first time, and he remade me hopeful second time. D'Oso has been there for me in the weakest moments of my life, even when I could not sense His Presence. Can I possibly find a better home than wherever D'Oso is standing at any given moment? D'Oso is my Home. Whether or not I choose to rest in Him, my rest will always be found in Him," he thought, and then he began to sing, "'Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer Blessed Lord, to thy precious bleeding side.'"
"You have a great singing voice. Do you realize that, Son?" D'Oso spoke with a smile as he cocked his head. "I gave you that singing voice for that very purpose, you know. It gives me great pleasure to hear you sing."
"D'Oso,...thank you. I have grown well aware that all of my giftings are from you," Quest acknowledged. "Thank you for every one of them. They are all for your Glory."
"You still have questions, don't you, Quest?" D'Oso probed.
"Yes, Sir. I do."
"Please, feel free to ask. I am not the least bit intimidated by hard questions. Those sorts of things give us the opportunity to deepen our relationship. The more you find rest in Me, the more you will realize that you have achieved your goal of finding Home."
"Why does the road to this deep, abiding home relationship take so long?"
"I want you to realize that you don't have the necessary resources to find home on your own."
"Couldn't you just have told me that early in life? It would have saved a lot of time, effort and pain."
"True that, My Friend, but you would still have had the wander lust, living inside of you. Home is not really home, when you are always looking for ways to escape from your supposed captivity."
"So, you knew what I would face. You let me face these trials of life because you wanted me to come to the end of myself."
"Do you feel at Home?"
"More than ever before in my life."
"Mission accomplished." D'Oso smiled and leaned into Quest.