7 years ago this week, I stood in the hallway of a church in a long, flowing white dress. Its train was carefully jeweled with pearls and tiny roses, each sewn carefully by hand. My blonde hair had been bundled on top of my head, while my ringlets gently kissed the back of my neck as they brushed from side to side. A pearled tiara held in place a veil, which flowed gracefully down my back, tied on each side by ribbon. My hands held the most beautiful flowers I could imagine, white water lilies, nestled in ivy and baby's breath. My bride's maids stood in front of me, their yellow and green shimmering dresses I had carefully chosen.
My father stood by my side. In his shadow, I looked up at this giant's towering frame, wondering if my husband would ever become the man I saw my father become. I felt secure with my father's arm in mine. I knew I was loved, and always would be, by this man I still called, "Daddy." Then it hit me.
I was walking into the unknown, about to be bound to a man I barely knew! I forgot the two years I had spent learning to love with Kevin, and suddenly I felt as though I were at the precipice of a cliff. My heart began to race, panic set in, and I started to uncontrollably cry. This was moments before I was to enter the chapel. It was all wrong! I was supposed to marry in the Temple, not a church. I was supposed to marry a dancer who loved poetry! Kevin hated poetry! He worked with his hands, not his feet! Worst of all, I had seen Kevin get angry, and I didn't like what I saw. I had seen myself get angry, and I knew he wouldn't like what he would see. I turned to look at my father, pleading silently, what should I do?
My dad looked through my fear to my heart, and smiled warmly. He kissed my head, and said gently, "I know. It's okay. You're doing the right thing." He placed his enormous hand on the small of my back, and led me into the room of the church. We walked an eternity, the 300 or so pairs of eyes were all warm and loving to me. I hung subtly to Daddy's arm, a rock, firmly lifting my own. Each step toward the front of the church calmed a few more of my fears. I was walking into a warm embrace. I looked only briefly at my mother, I was afraid she would make me cry. But I could feel my parents smiling at me. I could feel their love and support. I knew that no matter what, they would help me in this next phase of my life. When my father let go, the thought occurred to me, "I could run now, and no one would stop me." But I stayed, because as I looked into the kind eyes of my soon-to-be husband, I could feel my father's confidence, and I knew that I could love, because first, I was loved.