Ten days ago, I presided at the wedding of my son, Spencer. It was a most mysterious and delicious mingling of my vocations as priest and mom. He and Heather have been together for nine years, so she has long been part of the family. I was honored when they asked me to officiate, but I was equally honored to be one of the girls invited to go wedding dress shopping. When she came out in “the” dress, we knew it instantly because it took our breath away. I did not do their required pre-marital counseling - they saw a therapist for that - but to guide them through the process, to throw a rehearsal dinner, and then to stand there feeding them the lines for their vows and watch them speak to each other with such clarity and commitment, it was one of the highlights of my life, akin to giving birth to that 9 pound,10 ounce boy, but a lot more fun.  

The wedding was held on our family farm in central Vermont. My uncle Curly bought 200 acres for a song in 1948. My parents got married in 1951 and several years later as a wedding gift and with gratitude for help renovating the old farmhouse, Curly offered them one acre on which to build a home. My dad chose an acre – the best acre – on a bluff with views of green mountains in every direction. My dad designed the house and he and Uncle Curly began building it the summer I turned one. I recently entered my sixth decade and have spent part of every year of my life here. This place has not only been our true home, no matter where else we lived, but the emotional seat of our family. Many significant and pivotal things have happened or been decided there. We have done much celebrating and grieving, including my brother’s funeral service, on that bluff.


How providential that Spence should spend many summers as a boy working on the farm and then in his late teens, when looking for a new way to shape his life, found himself up there year round. Soon after, he met Heather Elizabeth Gorton and life would be forever changed, thanks be to God.

I would say it was an out-of-body experience and yet I was so totally in my body, so fully present, with a heart so full and a smile so wide, I thought my face would break. But instead my heart did. I often wonder what other transcendent experiences God could possibly serve up, but as we danced into the night, and watched fireworks burst over the meadow, it was the closest thing I’ve experienced to heaven on earth.