A Wedding Toast (From The Father Of The Bride)

In “Random Reflections” (7/14/12), I professed my belief that, over time, God brings special people into our lives, sometimes when we least expect them – and often when we need them most.  Today, I thought I would provide a “real-life” illustration of that belief made manifest and of the importance of maintaining an expectant and a patient heart by sharing with the 313,957,381 of you who didn’t have the privilege of hearing it in person (http://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html) the toast that my brother delivered at the recent wedding of his daughter, Theresa, and her groom, Justin:

For those of you who I have not yet had the chance to meet, I’m Russ Blackwell, Theresa’s proud father. Her mother and I want to welcome you tonight to this very special celebration.

A few months into their relationship, Justin asked Theresa a question:  “So, if, hypothetically we were to get married, how many people do you think there would be at the wedding?”  Theresa thought for a few minutes, wondering how she would phrase her answer.  Finally, she said “probably between 300 and 400 people!”  Justin laughed and said, “No really, what do you think?”  But Theresa wasn’t laughing.  She said, “You don’t understand.  There are a lot of people that have been waiting for this to happen for a long time and ALL of them will be coming.  I’m not kidding.”  Now Justin wasn’t laughing!

You see, Theresa was hoping to find her life partner in high school in Columbus Ohio.  She was often sad that she didn’t fall in love there – but Justin was growing up in Ft. Worth.

Theresa left Columbus to attend the University of Notre Dame, where she again hoped she would meet her life partner – and she did meet lifelong friends there – many who are here tonight.  She often expressed disappointment and sadness that she didn’t fall in love at ND – but Justin had joined the Navy and was serving our country around the world.

A year after graduating from college, Theresa moved from Columbus to Arlington, Texas to start her new life. She knew one friend, Becky Camillus (and her Uncle Henry) when she arrived.  Over the years she made a lot of great friends, many of whom are here tonight – but she was often sad that she didn’t meet someone and fall in love.  Justin was away at college at the University of North Texas.

Theresa got involved in the Notre Dame Club of Dallas and with her business expanding, she decided to move from Arlington into an apartment in Grapevine, Texas, hoping that a “change in venue” might help her find someone special and fall in love.  This was about the time that Justin moved to and took a job as a police officer in Arlington!

Theresa met more great friends through her business and the club – many wanting to set her up with some great guys – but she didn’t find anyone special enough.  She often expressed sadness to her mom and I about that.  But Justin was in a relationship.  Then, last May, a client and new friend Shaunelle Galaise invited Theresa to her daughter’s baptism.

Unbeknownst to Theresa, Shaunelle also invited her cousin, Justin who was recently single – AND she told him that her friend Theresa would be there and “really wanted to meet him.” Justin reluctantly  went and said hello to Theresa – who summarily blew him off – which, for those of you who know Justin, never happened to him!  Now he was determined to meet this girl and talk her into having lunch with him. To get him off her back, she agreed, and to her surprise there was something interesting about this guy.  The rest (but for a few more details) as they say, is history.

Justin and Theresa fell in love.  At long last Theresa had met someone who was everything she always hoped and dreamed he would be.  And, Theresa, to those, especially your mother and I, who have wanted this for you for all these years, he is everything we all hoped and dreamed he would be, too.

And for the record, Justin, there are over 320 people here tonight.  Many of them wanted to meet the man that won Theresa’s heart.  Please join me in raising a glass to two very special people.

Here’s to Theresa and Justin who, after traveling different paths, have found each other.  A testimony to the TRUTH that it is not OUR plan but rather God’s plan that reveals itself to those who trust in Him – and often when we least expect it!  May God continue to bless you both and your lifetime together!

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