“To have and to hold, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.” Brides and grooms take their vows with sweet sincerity and joyful anticipation. With eyes bright as diamonds, they pledge their devotion and dance to their dreams. Our family rejoiced last weekend in our son’s marriage and celebrated with both families and dear friends the roads that had brought them together and the road that lies ahead.

Their minister’s homily contained the usual comments about the bride’s beauty (stunning!) and the meaning of marriage. He surprised me, though, when he looked at Matt intently, then motioned toward Kara and instructed this beaming groom to “let her find you.” The minister talked about the importance of vulnerability, of not running from intimacy, of being found in the deepest parts of your being. Then he offered the same directive to Kara.

Being found is a universal principle for all connected relationships, not just marriage. Brené Brown talks about having the courage to share your imperfection. She describes how terrified we are of vulnerability and how we numb it in a variety of ways. She characterizes vulnerable people as being “whole-hearted” – of telling the story of their lives with their whole hearts. Brown asserts that whole-hearted vulnerability is the key to connection, and connection is our deepest longing.

Deepening the lesson, the minister told the bride and groom that the key to their willingness to being found by each other was to be willing to be found by God. To let God into their disappointments and failures, their doubts and fears, as well as into their hopes and joys. A covenant-keeping God constantly seeks a heart willing to be found.

Paradoxically, many times we must risk being found by another before we dare to open our hearts to God. We are hardwired for connection, and through redemptive relationships, we often find the grace to connect with a redemptive God.

What an important message to sweet Matt and Kara and to all of us.

Marnie C. Ferree, proud mother of the groom