I remember it like it was yesterday: your little hand in mine as you looked up at me and called me "sissy," your brown eyes sparkling with life. You and I were crammed in the coat closet, evading our opponents in a Jackson family game of hide and seek. Our whispering trailed off when we heard the pitter patter of approaching feet. We looked at each other with bated breath and saucer eyes. A few seconds later the footsteps grew quiet as the pursuer walked past our hiding spot. We breathed a sigh of relief and laughed quiet, sneaky laughs: "hee hee heeee." We were safe.
Marc, my littlest brother: you have always been special to me.
|You and me, circa 1992ish|
Ever since Mom brought you home from the hospital weighing 9 lbs 4 oz, you have brought me unspeakable joy.
You make me laugh harder than just about everyone. Sometimes, when we run errands together, I wonder what the grocery clerks must think of us. You can make a bunch of bananas hilarious, and, without fail, I find myself rolling in the aisles, laughing till I wheeze till I cry. That sparkle in your two-year old eyes turned out to be a wicked sense of humor.
Life's an adventure with you, Marc. Some of my favorite life memories are with you — roller blading down big hills; playing roller hockey after sunset; scooping frogs out of mud puddles; and biking off the beaten path to discover creeks lined with thirsty ferns. You know the secret so many of us are still discovering: life is wondrous. But I love you for more than your sense of humor and spirit of adventure.
I love you for your strength of character and conviction. I love you for your sense of justice and love of mercy. I love you for your tenderness and generosity. I love you for your devotion to your family and friends. You have a beautiful soul. You have faithfully followed Jesus, and he has nurtured and cultivated the gifts he put in you. And now, you look more like your truest self than you ever have. I love the you you're becoming, Marc.
I'm not the only one. There are four other Jacksons and a slew of friends and family who love you to the moon. And yet, they're not the only ones.
Because last year, you sat down at your computer and carefully crafted an email to a beautiful, blond Air Force nurse stationed in San Antonio, Texas. You'd met her a few years earlier when you were going to school on the east coast. It was Thanksgiving break, and you and your friends had plans to enjoy a week of boating on the lake. You were told a friend of your friends would join you. She did, and she was something else. Her name was Jaime, and although you parted ways after that trip, you didn't forget her.
For years you wondered about her. But she was in Texas and you had graduated from college and returned to Washington, and it is hard to ask someone on a date when you can't actually take them on a date. But then, in a delightful turn of events, you were assigned a work trip to San Antonio, Texas. BINGO. You got out your computer and shot an email across the states to this girl you couldn't forget. And then, in an even lovelier turn of events, she responded.
Back and forth your emails flew, growing longer and longer with each correspondence. Eventually, you noted: "Our emails are getting pretty long. Would you like to FaceTime sometime?" She agreed and you talked for hours. The next day, it was the same thing. You quickly discovered that Jaime was everything she'd seemed to be in her emails. She was independent, intelligent, and intentional. She loved her family, and, best of all, she wanted every area of her life to be folded up into God's purposes.
Sometimes Jaime would share her perspective on a topic and your eyes would widen: "No way!" you'd say. "Me too!" It wasn't long before you were completing each other's sentences and eagerly awaiting that business trip to San Antonio. A deep and abiding friendship was born.
And then you went on your first, real live date. I FaceTimed with you both after that date, and I saw it in your eyes, Marc: the way you admired and respected this woman. And then I saw the way she looked at you, like you were the best guy she knew.
For many months the two of you FaceTimed and took regular trips to visit each other. As you experienced more and more life together, it became clear that your visions of life aligned and your souls' nooks and crannies fit together like snug puzzle pieces. You were in love.
And so, on March 22nd, 2015, you got down on one knee and asked Jaime to be your wife. And, in the most delightful turn of events, the girl you couldn't forget said "yes."
|A reenactment of the proposal shortly after the actual proposal|
Marc and Jaime, you have devoted your lives to growing into the people God calls you to be, and now, as you merge lives, I pray God's blessings upon you as you grow together. May God give you rich friendships, deep belly laughs, unexpected adventures, and abundant opportunities to use your married lives as a gift for others. And most of all, may he use your marriage to continue to teach you how high, wide and deep his love for you is.
Praise Him for bringing the two of you together.
I love you both.
P.S. "Jaime Jackson" sounds like it was meant to be. Am I right or am I right?!
© by scj