Andrew hadn't shared
with JenniAnn what had passed between Josef and
him. It was too personal and parts would only
bring her to tears. But she seemed to sense it
had been emotional and took the lead on editing that
portion of the DVD. Once that was finished,
only the wedding itself was left. Since both
Andrew and JenniAnn had participated in the
ceremony, Owen had taken over the camerawork.
As Andrew loaded the footage onto the laptop, they
heard a door open and quick, light footsteps
pattering down the hall. Andrew and JenniAnn
craned their necks and saw Shelby running towards
them, her face puffy and tears streaking down her
The angel was the first on his feet and approached
the little girl. "Hey, sweetheart, what's
wrong?" he asked, stooping to be level with her.
"I... I dreamed about the... the crash and mommy and
daddy and..." Fresh tears began to pool in her
Andrew pulled Shelby into a hug. Though she
had been only two when she and her brother had
survived the car crash that claimed her parents, it
sometimes seemed as if she'd retained at least some
memory of it. "You're safe now. And
Asher is safe now. And your mommy and daddy
are safe now, with God," he assured.
"Shel, Andrew and I were just watching Mick's and
Beth's wedding. You wanna watch with us?"
JenniAnn offered, knowing her student wouldn't be
able to get back to sleep any time soon.
"We're just about to see the cutest flower girl ever
walk down the aisle."
Shelby smiled through her tears and nodded.
She took Andrew's hand and walked over to the coffee
table, taking a spot on the cushions between the two
Once sure the child was comfortable, Andrew started
"I was afraid I'd drop my basket," Shelby admitted.
"You did everything perfectly," Andrew assured,
looking from her to her image on the screen.
"Mick and Beth both said so."
Shelby's smile grew and she rested her head against
Andrew's arm as they watched the rest of the wedding
Because the traditional wedding vows were so
unsuited to the couple, Mick and Beth had adapted
The camera panned in as a tearful Beth gazed at Mick
and began her own. "I pledge to you, Mick St.
John, a love that is patient and kind. A love
that is forgiving and understanding. A love
that is true. I will protect you and trust
you. I will start each day of our life
together with hope. I will be by your side
always, whatever happens, whatever comes. My
love will not fail."
An equally emotional and enamored Mick echoed the
words back to Beth.
As JenniAnn listened, she glanced over at Andrew and
thought of how his entire life had been a
fulfillment of the same vows. Never spoken to
any one person in particular, of course. It
was simply his way of being. Looking at he and
Shelby and noting how much the girl had grown,
JenniAnn was reminded again of how quickly time was
passing by. However, unlike earlier in the
day, she was no longer troubled or made anxious by
this knowledge. Andrew had been right.
He would always be the same angel. Same
feelings, same habits, same lame shoes but above all
the same loving spirit that would never fail.
"Will they live happily ever after?" Shelby asked as
the video ended.
Her high-pitched voice roused JenniAnn from her
Andrew considered his answer. "I think
something better will happen, Shel. I think
they'll live forever with love."
This answer pleased the girl. Her smile
stretched into a yawn. "I think I wanna go
back to sleep now."
"Do you want one of us to tuck you in?" JenniAnn
"Naw. I'm okay. Night, night." She
kissed them each on their cheeks then walked back to
the room she was sharing with a handful of other
"She's growing up so fast," Andrew reflected.
"You're going to do it soon, aren't you?" JenniAnn
questioned, her words coming out in a rush.
Andrew didn't have to ask what she meant. He
knew from the way she was looking at him... the way
she was twisting her Claddagh ring anxiously.
So often over the last months he'd thought she was
so near to asking but each time she changed her
mind. If she was ready for the answer, he was
ready to tell her. "I'm going to wait three
years at the most. I want it to have started
by the time Shelby reaches high school age.
But I don't want her to know that was something I
factored in. So in three years she'll be
10. That makes sense, doesn't it?"
JenniAnn responded with a solemn nod.
Not sure what to say, Andrew reached for her hand
then looked at his pocket watch. "One minute
until Valentine's Day," he announced.
JenniAnn smiled. "So doesn't that mean it's
actually 6 minutes til? Since you keep your
watch five minutes fast, I mean."
The angel shook his head. "No, I figured that
in." He showed her the face reading 11:54 PM.
They watched the thin hand rotate. When it
reached the 12 they both wished each other "Happy
Valentine's Day!" in unison. Their quirky,
momentous anniversary had passed and all was as it
had been before. Things would change.
But not just yet.
After refilling their mugs, they settled back down
in front of the computer to finish their task.
Andrew cycled through a folder of photographs.
"I think we should end it with a slideshow of these
photos from the reception with Mick's and Beth's
first dance song playing. What was it?
'Love Remains the Same'?"
JenniAnn nodded. "Yeah, sure. Great
idea. But first... Can we watch your
toast from the reception one more time? I
kinda zoned out earlier."
Andrew chuckled. "I must not be a very
"You know it wasn't that. I just got to
thinking is all."
"Sure," Andrew agreed. He wasn't crazy about
watching himself on screen again but he suspected
JenniAnn needed to hear what he'd said so cued up
"You know, even though I've never been married, I
think I've learned a thing or two about marriage in
the many, many, mannny years I've walked this
earth," Andrew began as the crowd laughed.
"But if everything I've learned could be summed up
in a couple sentences, I think they'd be two that
come from the same chapter of the Bible that Mick
and Beth echoed in their vows to each other just a
little while ago. 'And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is
love.' Mick and Beth have shown faith in
embarking on this life God led them to, never
backing down despite the obstacles that have come
their way. They've shown hope in getting
married, in telling the world that they won't be
torn asunder no matter what happens. But
mostly... mostly they've shown love. They've
accepted the love God placed in their hearts.
I hope each of us, married and unmarried, follow
their lead and choose love. Because it is
God's greatest gift to each of us. It is His
most important blessing."
JenniAnn paused the recorded Andrew and turned to
the real one. "I just want you to know... I
feel so blessed to have met you. To have loved
you. And whatever happens, whatever else
changes... those feelings won't."
Andrew hugged her. "I know. I believe
you. And I'm feeling pretty blessed
myself." He reached for his mug and raised
it. "To love... the greatest gift."
"To love," JenniAnn echoed, beaming.
They clinked their mugs together then watched the
slide show as Mick's and Beth's song played, seeming
to play for them and for all of their friends
smiling from the photos.
Drink to all that we
Mistakes we have
But love remains
(from the song "Love Remains the Same" by Gavin
This JABB is dedicated to all the love John showed
in his work and in his life. May his example
always lead us to meet others with love and
compassion in our hearts. May he know that he
is loved. Forever and always. And that's
not gonna change.
Credits: Images on these pages are owned by CBS
Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon
Water Productions. They are not being used
to seek profit.)