Jul 27, 2009

A Swiss Wedding

Some of us worried my brother Jim would ever get married. But they worried about me too, and I managed. So I shouldn’t be so surprised it happened for Jim. But we are surprised at how well it happened.

And it could very well not have. Like me, my brother Jim spent a lot of time in a charismatic church that emphasized inner healing. I did a lot of inner healing myself, but sometimes it seemed like you were supposed to wait until you were healed, before you were qualified to go out and have a life. I got out after ten years, but Jim stayed in, going from conference to conference, waiting for God to Do All The Healing So Jim’s Life Could Happen. A couple years ago, Jim looked at his half-lived life and got very angry.

Jim got the worst deal from my father. My father berated Jim for being a musician. At Jim’s college graduation recital, he conducted the university orchestra to a packed auditorium. Jim got a standing ovation. My father sat in the third row scowling, refusing to applaud. Refusing to stand up. Is it any wonder Jim spent years trying to heal himself of that?

At one point, someone prayed over Jim and said they had a vision of Isaac getting Rebecca. Well, our last name is Isaac. Then a pretty, young German violinist showed up at Jim’s grad school with talent, faith, and the name of Rebekkah, James fell for her. She didn’t fall for him in return. But he chased her anyway, for several years. We all thought Jim was whistling Dixie. But then I heard some of the things she said to him, and she encouraged his devotion. But she was young, she had time and people to burn.

It’s really hard to see someone you love get stuck. Jim is the smartest sibling in my family. He’s like scary MENSA smart. He’s a classical musician, and those guys are brainiacs at math, not to mention steel traps for the most arcane minutiae. I jokingly wondered if he had Asperser’s, the high functioning autistic behavior that geniuses like Bill Gates have. Jim's that kind of smart. Still we all ached to see him stuck, and worried that he never would get unstuck.

Along the way Jim ended up touring with a well-known Christian musician. That took him overseas a few times, where he often went to visit the German violinist who was still leading him on with the whole comenzie here goenzie way routine.

But four years ago, the tour stopped at a church in Zurich, Switzerland. He stayed in a large house where several people from the church all lived; among them was this sweet young German pianist. He said he lay awake thinking about his life, and how cool it would be to live in a place like that with different church friends on the floors, to play classical music in one of its rooms. But he lay there despairing of how far his dreams had escaped him. The German pianist was on a floor below him.

Two years ago, the same Christian musician toured Europe, with an extended stay in Zurich. Jim was put up in the same house, got to know that German pianist a little better; flew to Egypt for a few weeks, then back to the house in Zurich and the pianist. And he didn’t take a side trip to Germany to follow the violinist's lures. He’d found a different German musician, one who was an accompanist, not a soloist. In music and life. YEA!!

Flash forward to a few weeks ago, and my brother Jim – “James” as his Swiss friends call him – got married to that delightful German accompanist. There in attendance were all the people at the church and the house who went to the same church. Some of the people who’d prayed different kind of prophecies over him, and ones that were ready to kick his butt if he ever did any harm to their beloved pianist sister.

At the evening dinner James recalled a vision he’d had years ago in one of those healing conferences. James had a heart for Germany and classical music all these years, and he envisioned himself playing classical music in Germany. But he was conflicted about what Germany did during WWII. And then he told the story about staying at the house with all the people from the same church, wishing he could stay in Switzerland and play music, while the German cal played music a few floors down.

Annkatrin is beautiful, funny, incredibly talented, quirky like us, and shares not only my brother's faith but his kind of faith. I am delighted to have a new sister! I'm sad they are far away, but now Larry and I have family members we can crash with, when we tour Europe.

It made me rethink how I’ve dismissed the more charismatic elements of the church; the prophetic, the need to heal. I did a lot of it myself, but after I got burned I locked all of that away. Jim/James and AK reminded me that God doesn’t ever stop inviting us to a bigger vision for us.
Jim got the girl, the music, and the community to support him, whoop his ass when he gets out of line. What better vision is there than that?

Here's their friend, jazz saxophonist Bene Muller, serenading James and AK on the day.


David K Wheeler said...

"...a charismatic church that emphasized inner healing, to the point of waiting to get healed before you were qualified to go out and have a life." -- I'm not sure that's been my church experience EXACTLY, but it sure sounds hella familiar.

Otherwise, what a great story about your brother and his bride!

Leslie said...

Wunderbar. Simply wunderbar.
A lovely story. May they have a rich and amazing life together!

Lori said...

This made me teary. I am so happy for them and think your new sister is incredible. And that last picture is priceless! Oh my goodness.

Lar said...

Annkatrin is everything you say and more. God is making something remarkable out of this patchwork, crazy, quirky family.

Joe said...

Great story! Shows that there's still hope for all of us as long as we still have a big, creative God.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story. Know a few people who would be greatly encouraged by it and am sending it on to them. (ps 'aspergers')

Unknown said...

Very awesome story. Thanks for sharing!

Madley said...

Thanks for sharing... Congrats to James and his new wife!

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

What a lovely story, Susan. I am so happy for your brother.

(And I loved the last shot.)

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