The story of how they met is beautiful beyond words. I will not attempt to iterate any of it here. Kyleigh describes it in three installments, here, here, and here.
The wedding itself was also beautiful beyond words.
Throughout my life, I've been to perhaps two dozen weddings. Out of those, there are several that stand apart in my memory as profoundly beautiful and deeply moving. But this wedding surpassed them all.
I think what stands out the most in my mind is how Mr. Fox gave his daughter to my brother. It is a tradition in most weddings for the Pastor to say, "And who gives this woman to be married to this man?" To which the father, who has walked his daughter down the isle, will say, "Her mother and I." The meaning of this tradition seems all but lost now, even among those of us who believe and follow Jesus Christ. The concept behind the tradition is that, before a woman is married, her authority, her provider and her protector is her father. When the woman is married, her authority, her provider and her protector is her husband. During the wedding, the father transfers his role in his daughter's life to the husband, as he gives her to him.
In most weddings that I attended or was a part of, I felt that this part of the ceremony was under appreciated. The words would be spoken too quickly, too much like rote-memory, for a moment defined by such deep realities.
I think Kyleigh's father felt much the same way, because he didn't settle for the standard four words.
During the rehearsal on Friday, when that moment came, Mr. Fox said,
"Kyleigh, my words are for you, but tonight, Ezra, I want to tell you 3 things. First, this is only the rehearsal, I’m not really giving her to you yet! Second, this young lady is very precious to us, and it is very difficult to give her away.
Most importantly, because of who you are, it is easy to give her to you. For Kyleigh’s own protection you showed great courage and initiative by respecting my role and seeking my permission and counsel, before starting your courtship. More than that, you showed great patience, faith and trust in God as you allowed Kyleigh to seek God's will and prayerfully realign her life journey to fit yours. It may have seemed like seven years, but remember it was only two years!"
The next day, during the wedding, Mr. Fox did indeed have his words for Kyleigh. When Pastor asked the question, "And who gives this woman to be married to this man?" Mr. Fox did not just recite, "Her mother and I." Rather, he turned to his daughter and said,
"Kyleigh, you are a radiant bride! Thank you for honoring me as your father and welcoming my leadership and care for you and your heart, leading up to this day. We have invested 20 years of our life in you, and take this matter of giving you away seriously. We have found Ezra to be worthy of that investment. As you covenant with Ezra today, you change from being a daughter in your father’s house to being a wife in your husband’s house. It is necessary that you transfer the honor, respect and submission you have shown me, to Ezra. I love you, Kyleigh!"
Truly, as he said this, the bonds of love and trust between father and daughter shone for all present to see. Mr. Fox lifted the vale over his daughter's face to kiss her, and let it down again. Then he turned to the pastor and said, "Pastor, without any reservation and with the full support of my wife, I give Kyleigh to Ezra."
Of all the memorable moments at the wedding, this one stood out to me as the most uncommonly beautiful and profound. I will post more of my thoughts about Ezra and Kyleigh's wedding over the next couple of weeks, but for now, I leave you to reflect on this.
"Pastor, without any reservations, and with the full support of my wife, I give Kyleigh to Ezra."
-- Jim Fox
"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you."
-- Exodus 20:12
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."
-- Ephesians 5:22-28