A moment.

To think how brief a moment can be is mind-boggling; could it be a second, a millisecond, or a microsecond?

Could it be the time that passes while you wait for your crush to respond to an overly loud profession of love, or is it that awkward pause on the street when your eyes meet and there is that overwhelming feeling of not being able to breathe properly?

Perhaps a moment should be thought of in the official capacity where it can be broken down into dull, academic definitions such as a time of excellence or conspicuousness.

The official definitions could be correct, but so too could the unfathomable feelings associated with the unknown, such as how a moment can last for hours yet, at the same time, it can pass in the blink of an eye. Details are lost, but the feeling remains.

Hollywood, social media, and society would have you believe that great moments can be surmised in short, simple, and meaningful quotes. But that’s not my experience. For me, 2018 was the year I first experienced a moment of greatness in my relatively short and limited lifetime. I found a girl, fell in love, and married her.

Three years ago, if you were to ask me what I saw in Megan Benton that made me want to marry her, I probably would have shrugged my shoulders and given you a blank stare, unable to provide a straight answer.

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Today, if you asked the same question, I would smile, pull up a chair, and put on a pot of coffee, because we would be talking for a good, long while.

How does one go about telling someone else their most intimate feelings? I suppose my responses would mimic those of my father, to whom I had posed a similar question: why had he chosen to love my mother?

He sat me down and beguiled me with stories of laughter and remorse, happiness and sadness, and of love gained and love lost. He could never tell me the precise moment he fell in love with my mother, but he could tell me the stories associated with it. Whenever I pressed him for more information, at the time wanting to know if I was truly in love with Megan, he merely responded with more stories.

At the time, I was slightly frustrated. I could not understand why my father couldn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. It was only recently, after my own wedding had come and gone, that I have come to understand what my father had been saying.

On September 8, the day of our wedding, Megan and I had been together for two-and-a-half years. Within our first year, we had fallen madly in love, or at least what we believed love to be.

Last spring, we became engaged and jumped headfirst into the age-old swamp that is wedding planning. It became a stressful period that tested us both. There was anger and hurt, but there was also happiness and excitement. One by one, we tackled the issues that fell in our path together, until the big day finally arrived.

I was a busy body, not wanting to stand around and chit-chat awkwardly with family and friends. I rushed about the Big Lost Meadery and Brewery and adjusted seats, straightened the aisle, triple-checked decorations, and greeted guests.

When I checked the time on my phone, I had only 10 minutes to spare and made my way to the staging area. I greeted my best man, Edwin Saenz, who has been my friend for over a decade, and made my way to the front of the crowd, hyperventilating slightly as crowds have never been my forte.

Two by two, I watched as my parents, Megan’s mother and brother, and members of the wedding party made their way down the aisle. I recall picking up my guitar, readying myself to play the song that Megan was going to walk down the aisle to. It was Yiruma’s “River Flows in You,” a song that, over the years, has become our special song.

When Megan stepped through the door, smiling as her eyes found mine, nothing else in that moment mattered. The faces of the crowd seemingly blended together and my fingers fumbled through the notes of our special song as a tirade of memories flooded my mind.

It was if time stood still, and a movie of our time together started in my mind. One by one, I watched every moment. We laughed, we cried, we shouted, and held each other. I remembered the times we hiked up the mountainside and the time we made 400-mile road trips just for the hell of it.

Lastly, I remembered the way her eyes lit up when I dropped to one knee, her perfect smile as she held out her hand to accept the engagement ring.

As the moment passed and her father placed her hand in mine, I realized what my own father had been trying to tell me, though I doubt he knew it.

It is not a single, grand moment that determines when and where someone falls in love. Rather, it is the combination of many moments, grand and common, angry and joyous, happy and sad, that creates the foundation for true love to emerge and build upon.

By: Ryan R. Lewallen

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