A few weeks ago, I had the honor of participating in my brother’s wedding, as an usher. Why not best man, you ask? Been there and done that—let’s just say we both agreed that another best man selection was in order this time around, given the unfortunate results of my bro’s first wedding.
I have mentioned in previous posts (and videos) that this celebration was thrown together in a short period of time due to medical circumstances that I will not elaborate on in this post. Let me just say that in little more than a month’s time, my brother and his amazing bride created a memorable, spectacular, and emotional event that had the look and feel of years of planning.
But something else occurred that day, an event that borders on the otherworldly, hints at Divine Intervention, and whispers of miracle.
Now do I have your attention?
My father was taken from our family way too early—gone from this earth in his mid-50’s, the victim of heavy cigarette and alcohol addictions that left him gasping for breath through emphysema-ravaged lungs. His death changed my life. It was not long after he died that I took control of my own self-destructive habits and turned my life around. But this post is not about my life, it is about my father…and how he may have attended my brother’s wedding.
After days of worrying about the possibility of rain ruining things, the day turned out to be spectacular—a vital factor for an outdoor wedding. The venue was stunning: one of the oldest hotels on a scenic island in the littlest state in the Union. With the shimmering bay and majestic bridge as a backdrop, the wedding party stood excited and ready before hundreds of well-wishers. Dark clouds rolled in, but not to dampen the spirit of the day, but instead arrived to offer a protective canopy of shade from the harsh sun.
I was relaxed, content, happy to be standing beside my brother, enjoying the ceremony, offering an occasional glance at family and friends in the crowd. Everything was going well, everything was normal…when overhead I heard the drone of an engine, barely noticeable at first, then gradually building in intensity. Being on public display, I didn’t want to disrupt the ceremony with any overt actions or gestures, but as the noise built and it became obvious what was causing it—a jet, seemingly from out of nowhere, buzzing the quietude—I couldn’t help myself.
I surreptitiously canted my head and caught sight of the plane as it burst through a gray cloud and soared into a sea of blue, the sun glinting off one wing, which seemed to tilt just as my eyes made contact with it.
As the jet motored across the partially cloudy sky, and the words of the wedding ceremony sang in my ears, an almost surreal sensation overcame me—Dad! That was my father in that jet plane! A sad and satisfied smile tugged at the corners of my mouth and, as the plane’s engines sounds began to fade into the background, I returned my focus and attention back to the wedding.
My father flew jets in the Navy. He was one of those brave pilots who land on aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean. When he left the service, he flew small prop planes. (One of my biggest childhood thrills was going up in one of those planes and my dad allowing me to “co-pilot” the aircraft.)
A few hours into the wedding reception, I ran into my uncle, my father’s brother. He asked if I had noticed the jet flying over during the ceremony. In a flash, the image of that plane, and all those strange sensations associated with its sudden appearance at my brother’s wedding, came rushing back to me. I told my uncle I had seen it, why?
“I thought of your father,” he said. “In fact, I thought it was your father.”
An eerie chill sent my flesh vibrating.
“So did I,” I told him.
We looked at each other, both of us realizing the absurdity of our wishful thinking, while sharing a secret smile of hope and dreams and faith that perhaps it was not so far-fetched after all.
“Because,” my uncle added, “this is not a normal flyover route, you know. And there was no air traffic before the wedding and none since that jet. Strange, huh?”
You don’t know the half of it.
Much later on that long and happy day, in the wee hours of the morning, I reiterated to my brother my conversation with our uncle, as well as my own observations about that lone jet. He said he’d not noticed the jet, but was elated to think that it could have been dad. In fact, he said he had no doubt that it must have our father. (Of course, he had been partying a bit.) Then he added this bombshell: his new bride’s father (also no longer of this world) also flew jets! It was not only our dad in that ethereal plane, but her father too.
As my brother rushed off, jubilation and awe painting his over-celebrated face, to share this revelation with this new bride, I sat back and reflected on the day…on that moment.
Was it real?
Did it happen?
Was it only a jet gliding overhead, oblivious to the events below?
Or was it…?
Because, after all, what is faith but the belief in something we are unable to prove exists.
Think about it.