Our group of Charleston friends notoriously refers to the summer of 2011 as “the best summer ever.” Most Fridays after a week of camp or work, David Gregorie welcomed us to Oakland Plantation, and his cousin Maddy organized the logistics. At our potluck gatherings, we grilled burgers, took the boat out on the lake, and enjoyed many a late-night porch talk.
For me those fun twilight evenings, almost magical in my recollections now, reflect the essence of summer, not only relieving us of the lowcountry’s sweltering heat, but allowing us to play, to deepen our bonds of friendship, and to fill our souls with joy. That summer, two of my worlds collided – fellow staffers at camp met high school friends, and we have been one larger unit ever since. That summer, Thomas and Maddy met.
As their family and closest friends, you know that they are born and bred Charlestonians, sailors, and talented singers. They were both YoungLife leaders in college and will always be passionate about befriending and sharing the Gospel with young people. Above all, they intentionally stand on the foundation of Christ, glorifying Him in everything they do. They are probably also distantly related, but we can dismiss that. With all they have in common, it’s a wonder I did not see Thomas knotting a Trott coming back in 2011. But three years later, we have that summer, and specifically David for the actual introduction, to thank for the union of two extraordinary people.
Ecclesiastes teaches us the strength of a chord of three strands. Thomas, you abound in generosity and humility. Maddy, your selflessness epitomizes a servant’s heart and that of a true friend. In each of you God made two unique and precious individuals, and united, yoked with his grace and abundant love, He has created a power couple for the Kingdom of Heaven. Together, you will follow the apostle Paul’s advice to the Ephesians to live righteously and be filled with the Spirit. You will “sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.” You will not only stand the test of time and the hardships life guarantees, but you will do so with love and faith in our heavenly Father. With that chord of three strands, all those with whom you interact will experience the grace and love rare on earth but bountiful in God’s glory.
Tomorrow as guests arrive, ushers will ask them which side of the aisle they would like to sit on. Thomas and Maddy are two of my favorite people, and as they declare their vows before their friends, family, and God tomorrow, I do not have a preferred side. I treasure the summer of 2011 and all of the great moments together since then. I am grateful that you are the glue to our Charleston friend group. Though I cannot definitively choose left or right of the aisle, I do choose to be present, celebrating a most blessed union. Thomas and Maddy, I love you, and I am excited about all the future holds for you. Cheers.