Chapter 12: Happily Ever After
Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
Serenity Baptist Church
Serenity Baptist Church was packed with friends and family. Some were dressed up, while others settled on the casual look of jeans. It was a Saturday at five o’clock in the evening. Soft music resonated throughout the large sanctuary as a convoy of people came down the center aisle. They were in male-female pairings. Even the little boy and girl walked down the aisle together, side by side.
They all took their place at the altar, men on one side and women on the other. They faced the congregation of people and stood in two perfect lines. Then out came the groom awaiting his bride to show herself. All the guys were dapper in their black tuxedos, while the women were beautiful in their bridesmaid dresses the color of Victorian lilac. The little boy and little girl had on a miniature tuxedo and a flower girl dress, respectfully.
A contemporary song played in place of the traditional bridal march. The double doors to the sanctuary opened up and in walked the bride, escorted by her mother. The bride, stunning in her pure white wedding dress, walked down the aisle, with everyone standing and captivated by her. Her dress was form fitting at the top, loose at the bottom, with princess like layers and accented with embroidered, decorative diamonds.
She made her way to the altar and stepped up on the elevated platform that constituted the pulpit with help from her husband to be. There they stood. Michelle to the right of Pastor H.M. Graves and Jeremiah to the left. There was the absence of a cane with Jeremiah. His leg had healed up within months of it being injured and he had the freedom to walk without any aid.
After an introduction to the occasion, Pastor Graves gave the green light to say their personal, written vows.
Michelle went first. “Jeremiah, from the first day I laid eyes on you in elementary school, you stole my heart. Now here we are much, much later to become husband and wife, and I did not take my heart back from you. I wanted you to keep it hoping this day would come for us. You make me smile, you make me laugh. You make me feel good about me and you love me like no one else has. I thank God for a man like you and I know within myself that you are going to be the Godly husband I need you to be. My vow to you is to love you unconditionally, pray with you, encourage you, and be the wife you need according to God’s way. I love you, Jeremiah.”
Michelle finished her vows to Jeremiah, which caused her to be in tears of joy.
Jeremiah whispered back to her that he loved her, then prepared to say his vows. He had written a poem for the occasion, because that was how he knew best to express his feelings. The title of this poem was “The Wedding Vow.” Jeremiah began allowing the words to flow from his mouth.
“Here we stand on this day
For this, I have fervently prayed.
Now I speak what my heart wants to say
Words of love I want you to take.
I’m blessed to have you stationed in my life
I’m blessed to have you become my wife.
Even through the hurt and the strife
You decided to stick by my side.
My vow to you is that I do the same
No matter what comes, I will remain.
Whatever arises, I will not stray
Sickness and health, I promise to stay.
My vow to you is to lead you as God leads me
To fulfill every bit of this love decree.
Lift you up to God when I fall to my knees
Cover you like the shade from a tree
My vow to you is to emotionally tend to your needs
To share the very spiritual air you breathe.
Speak to your mind words of encouragement and peace
No longer you and I, but “us” and “we”.
My vow to you is to love through better and worse
Exemplifying a marriage of God first.
Who you are inside I want to nurture
Beautiful woman you are, my now and my future.
My vow to you is to make this complete
As we entangle with strands of three.
With God in the center, it’s you and me
Unbreakable, we will not see defeat.
My vow to you is to be married to everything you are
From the Holy Spirit to your Southern charm
You are a living work of art
That one loves to admire up close and afar.
So let’s walk in this life hand and hand
A life adored with my lady, my best friend.
I love you Michelle,” Jeremiah tenderly said.
At the conclusion of Jeremiah’s vows, Pastor Graves directed the couple to braid the three strands together to symbolize God, husband, and wife. This was one of the most powerful moments of the ceremony.
When that was finished, there was a song that was sung by a man and a woman, both members of Serenity. They sung “Spend My Life With You” by Eric Benet and Tamia. Afterwards, Jeremiah commemorated Mrs. Emma by lighting a special candle. He looked up to the sky as though he was looking for Mrs. Emma’s face and whispered, “Thank you”. The wedding party looked as every one of them gave a smile. There was flanked to Jeremiah’s left Darius, Jeremiah’s best man for the wedding and in life. Darius had been promoted from head of research at Motions Intellect to vice president of operations. He and Erica were still going strong as a couple, but no wedding bells were in their future just yet.
Next to Darius was Jerrel, a groomsman, the young man who had come a long way. He had received his GED and was now enrolled in Nashville State Community College. Jerrel was still at Go Burgers, but this time as a manager. He moved out of Jeremiah’s house into his own apartment and even had his own car. But the most wonderful story about Jerrel was that he had been baptized in October of 2010.
Khrystal was Michelle’s maid of honor in the wedding and was standing to her right. She had taken a high school teacher’s position and was preparing for a move to Atlanta. Khrystal had promised Jeremiah and Michelle visits here and there, as long as they would return the favor. Unlike her best friend Michelle, Khrystal was single and happy about it!
The ceremony was wrapped up by the pronunciation of them now being husband and wife, a kiss shared between the loving couple, and the announcement of Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Washington. The two stepped down from the platform and strolled down the middle isle out the doors. The wedding party soon followed the path of the married couple.
Everyone traveled to the reception site, located in the life center attached to the church. A mixture of music was arranged by the DJ and there was no break from the crowd dancing as they enjoyed everything they could groove to! There was food galore, including a four tier wedding cake that was absolutely gorgeous.
Jeremiah and Michelle were greeted with congratulations and best wishes. One of the people to come and greet the newlyweds was Xavier, Darius’ brother, who had made the trip from D.C. to see Jeremiah get married. Even Detective Gray had attended the wedding and supported two of the people he helped find closure in their separate situations.
Jeremiah and Michelle, husband and wife. Mrs. Emma called it and it came true.
They were about to embark upon a journey together that was well worth the wait. Two lives entangled in one and they complimented each other so well. Both had great hearts and wanted to share that with others.
Michelle had completed her degree at TSU and had taken a permanent position as marketing executive at Dexter and Bross. She had volunteered one weekend out of the month to counsel women who were victims of sexual and physical abuse. She used the ’Word of God as a tool to help these women find hope in a dim situation. Michelle had decided to write a book.
Jeremiah had moved up from accountant to head accountant at Motions Intellect. He was back working with the youth at church and enjoyed every minute of it. There were several new programs implemented and the youth ministry increased in both numbers and learning.
In February of 2011, Jeremiah testified at Elijah’s (Deacon) trial. The others were awaiting their separate trials to happen soon after. Elijah was found guilty on ‘all counts’, but was given a breath of fresh air when Jeremiah had extended himself to help Elijah get to Christ and change for the better. Elijah did just that and was now encouraging fellow inmates to do the same.
But Jeremiah decided to take things a step further in his life. He chose to volunteer his time at the local community house for an after school program teaching kids how to pen different genres of writing. What did Jeremiah teach the students the most out of any kind of writing there was? Poetry of course! But there was none better than a little spoken word!
The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.