But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
– 1 Corinthians 13:13
The ballroom awaited the bride and groom for the evening wedding, resplendent in readiness.
A massive chandelier of mirrors hung from the vaulted ceiling, capturing and reflecting every movement below. The lights were dimmed, but the room was alive with strings of white miniature lights that ran along the ceiling and cascaded behind a gold curtain to form an electric altar of light.
A candle shared center stage of each guest table with a hot pink gerbera daisy. Soon the tables at either side of the electric altar filled, and a buzz of anticipation hung over the hall.
The groom stood nervously before the cascade of light and awaited his bride’s entrance. Finally she made a graceful entrance to join him. Together they vowed eternal love to each other before God and the witnesses. A sweet kiss sealed the moment, and they made their triumphant exit.
During the reception that followed, a familiar figure slipped to our side. She was elderly, her gray hair curling sweetly around her small face. In her soft cream sweater, she appeared almost angelic, a look that belied her feisty nature. She appeared a little unsteady. Remembering her bad back, I offered her a chair between my husband and me.
The conversation quickly turned to the recent loss of her husband. We had not seen Ava since the death of her husband, so as the music began and people milled loudly around us, she related the events of Clyde’s final weeks.
Very ill in his last days, the jolly man we remembered had lost one hundred pounds. It hardly seemed fair for such a wonderful man to have suffered so much.
When our son was first injured years ago, it was Clyde and Ava who appeared regularly in our driveway in their massive white car like Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, their trunk overflowing with boxes of groceries. They never forgot to bring something special for our youngest daughter, and they always gave with such energy and joy.
My throat tightened at the memory. Undaunted, Ava continued her story. Before Clyde died, he concocted a plan to surprise her. With their sixtieth anniversary approaching, he recruited someone from his hospital bedside to go to the jeweler for him. From his description, three rings were brought to him. From these three, he chose a ring for Ava to replace the tiny diamond chip she had worn for sixty years.
Ava extended a small, lined hand. Her fingers were gnarled from years of hard work, but all I could see was The Ring, chosen lovingly by a dying man for the woman he loved. I took her hand and turned it in the light. Three large diamonds shimmered in the white lights of the ballroom. Ava said Clyde told her the three diamonds represented Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.
Past, Present, and Future for a love that could never die.
Tears filled my eyes. Ava apologized for making me cry. But it wasn’t really sadness I felt.
It was the day. It was the fullness of it and the contrast. One love story was beginning, aglow with the promise of devotion. One love story had moved into eternity, aflame with the glory of a promise fulfilled.
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow is just another way of talking about eternity. We who love Christ are His beloved Bride. Ava’s three diamonds are our reminder the love that comes from the Eternal One can never die.
Present, Past, and Future. You are loved.
And He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.’
– Revelation 1:17-18