On February 14, 1993, I was asked to sing at my first wedding. It was the second marriage for both the bride and groom, and the ceremony was to be held in their home. Having never sung at a wedding before, I charged them a whopping thirty dollars for two songs. If you have had the privilege of hosting a wedding lately, you know thirty dollars is quite a bargain. The bride and groom got a deal, and I was grateful for the opportunity.
Three days before the big event, my duet partner was called out of town and let me know he would not be available to sing at the wedding. I tried desperately to contact the bride and let her know we would need to choose another song, but I was unable to reach her. The day of the wedding, I nervously approached her and let her know, with much regret, that I would not be able to sing one of the two songs she had requested. After breaking into tears, she let me know that I would need to learn another song. Two minutes before the procession began, I wrote the words to the new song she requested, pinned them to the back of a chair, and sang with perfection as she ascended down the staircase to meet her two hundred guests. After the wedding was over, I quickly got my thirty dollars and headed toward my car. This was one Valentine's Day I wanted to forget.
As my date and I approached our car, we realized that the 200 guests were parked behind us and had blocked us in. We had a plan. There was a small hole between the house and cars that would allow for our escape if we could drive through the bride and groom's front yard.
As we cautiously proceeded through the yard, my little car slowly passed the long column windows where the guests were seated in the house having dinner. They looked in disbelief, and suddenly, our worst fears became reality. It had rained a lot that week, and we were stuck in the bride's front yard.
The guests came out to move their cars so that a member of the wedding party could pull us out of the mud with his truck. After he also got stuck, more guests came to move their cars to make room for the wrecker who would now pull both of us from the mire. The wrecker charged $75 so my gig as a wedding singer had actually put me $40 in the hole.
As the wrecker removed my car, two large, wet, muddy ruts were left in the ground. The bride and groom would have a constant reminder of my attendance at the wedding. Although I longed to run when I saw the ruts, I approached the bride and groom and offered to pay for the damages.
Little did I know, God would use these ruts as a gift to me. To my surprise, the bride and groom began laughing, telling me how much entertainment I had been for the guests. The bride even apologized for being so harsh about the song, claiming she had forgotten to call me back during the midst of all the wedding chaos. I thanked them for their graciousness, and used the driveway this time as my means of escape.
This bride and groom were a shining example of 1 Corinthians 13. They chose to react with love and kindness. Kenneth S. Wuest, who brings out the meaning of each Greek word in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, translates this scripture the following way:
“Love meekly and patiently bears ill treatment from others. Love is kind, gentle, benign, pervading and penetrates the whole nature. Love does not brag, not does it show itself off…love believes all things, hopes all things, bears up under all things, not losing heart nor courage. Love never fails.”
Perhaps you would like to leave more favorable “ruts” on the hearts of the ones you love this Valentine's Day? Make 1 Corinthians 13 a verb in your life. Candy is easy to buy. Giving of ourselves sacrificially and unselfishly costs us something. What action can you perform this Valentine's Day that will leave a lasting impression, or “rut,” on your loved one's heart? Get creative. Do something drastic! Leave a “rut” that is such an amazing demonstration of love it will last for years to come, and when they look back on this Valentine's Day, they will know you were there.
1 Corinthians 13 became a beautiful rut on my heart when I married my husband, David, on February 14, 2003. I pray that I leave loving “ruts” on his heart daily that help him to soar.