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Daughter’s wedding celebration like glimpse of heaven


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“We need to do this more often,” Amy Walker sighed as we took a breather from the dance floor at the Mangas/Tillman wedding reception. We both nodded in agreement as we watched the bride and groom swing dance out of the center of the dance circle and her eldest son, Ransford, grab a partner and jitterbug into the center of the ever-cheering crowd.

More than 50 of the young people in the circle were IU students, many who live in the CSF House (Christian Student Fellowship). The bride’s grandfather, Frank, (my 84-year-old dad) danced his way into the middle of the delighted clapping crowd with his Tim Conway “old man comedy dance.” Best man and Marine Patrick Boldt grabbed some buddies for their debut, followed by Josh Olivo, led by his 4-year-old daughter “Z” (Zinnia), who did what she called a robot dance. My sister Leta grabbed some aunts and cousins and performed a jiggy-clog number.

As I looked around the room I wondered if this might be just a minute molecule of what heaven is like — a banquet with God being honored with dancing and cheering, surrounded by family and friends overflowing with love, joy and peace.

Two days have passed since the wedding celebration, but vivid visions continue to pop up like spring flowers in

my mind:

The happiness in the smiles of Chloe and Michael as their eyes met walking down the aisle.

The laughter and giggles as fathers and daughters of all ages joined Chloe and her father, Steve, during their father-daughter dance to Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.”

Michael Tillman and his mother, Denise, inviting all mothers and sons to join them in their mother/son dance to “New York, New York.”

Trying to follow the footsteps of Chloe’s high school friend Marianne Richardson and my niece Amanda Mangas as I attempted to dance the “wobble.” Dancing a slow dance with my niece and bridesmaid Madi, and a hand-

in-hand fast dance with my suave 5-year-old-old nephew Isaac.

A marriage-honoring slow dance in which the last four couples left on the dance floor had been married for 50 to 60 years. Two were Michael Tillman’s grandparents, Duane and Terri Tillman, and Chloe’s grandparents, Frank and Betty Hommel.

And of course the banquet food, which included Jug’s Catering biscuits and apple butter.

After such a joyous wedding celebration — our first daughter getting married — this Easter weekend celebration seems even more vivid. It’s not the apple butter and biscuits at the banquet table I look forward to in eternity (although I can’t imagine anything better) but the family and friends who I get to celebrate with and that it will be for and in the presence of the King.

This evening and Easter Sunday, the churches in Johnson County and around the world will overflow with cheering, praising and clapping in celebration that he is risen. Consider yourself invited.

Janet Hommel Mangas, the third of seven children, grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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