In June of 2017, I had the pleasure of photographing a wedding with two very special people, Sheila and Mark. It was during this wedding that I learned an important life lesson.
We got an early start that morning. The women spent the morning at the salon, while the men played a round of golf. By mid-afternoon, we all arrived at the church two hours before the ceremony was set to begin. The women were in one room, the men in another.
While there was lots of laughing and hugging being shared, underneath it all was a touch of nervousness. Sheila struggled with anxiety in her life; it was something she had been battling for years. Recently she had two small episodes, minor panic attacks that left her breathless with a racing heart.
As the big day approached, Sheila worried that the emotions of the day would get the best of her. She worried that she would encounter another attack. And worse, that the attack would stop the wedding.
Sheila took a deep breath and began her calming techniques as her bridesmaids buttoned and tied her wedding dress. She could feel the pressure building in her chest.
It was at that moment that she heard a sound, a “ping-ping” coming from the doorway.
She turned and saw Adam, the Best Man, standing at the doorway with his phone in his hand. He looked up and smiled, then slowly walked into the room.
Sheila went into panic mode. What was going on? What was wrong? Why was he here?
Adam looked up and smiled. “Beetlejuice.”
Sheila laughed a nervous laugh. “I don’t get it?”
“It’s a gift from your soon-to-be husband,” said Adam.
Sheila was still confused.
“Mark asked me to set the timer on my phone every hour. When the timer goes off, I’m going to look at you and say ‘Beetlejuice.’”
“Beetlejuice” was the first movie Sheila and Mark saw together at an outdoor film festival. It was their third date, and it was the night that Sheila and Mark realized that this relationship had a chance to be something very special.
“When you hear these words,” Adam continued, “Mark wants you to take a breath and realize that you are surrounded by people who love you and want to celebrate you. These people want you to be happy for the rest of your life. When you hear the words, take a moment to savor. Take a moment to enjoy. And take a moment to say a short prayer and thank God for this spectacular day.”
Sheila instantly teared up and embraced Adam. It was the best wedding gift she could have possibly received.
Today, over one year later, I’m sitting with my family on a pontoon boat in the middle of a lake, watching a spectacular sunset fill the sky. One word comes to my mind: “Beetlejuice.”
What are you savoring in life? How often are you actually doing it?
Are you remembering to thank God for your spectacular day?
Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.