Five years ago today, I took a very early morning flight from London to Stockholm, and then took a train to the suburb of Västerhaninge. There, on the temple grounds, I met Vaimoni for the first time in two months, who had taken the overnight ferry from Finland with her parents. My parents had also flown in from New York, where they were serving a mission. (When I asked if the mission president gave them permission to come to the wedding, my father said, ‘We let him know we were coming.’) It was an exciting moment: my parents and Vaimoni had not yet met, and since the two sets of parents didn’t share a common language, there was a flurry of translations.
We went inside the temple and met our sealer, a Helsinki ward member who made the trip a day or two earlier. We had one other guest: a guy I had met on a stake canoeing trip in Finland: he worked as a bus driver and happened to be there with a busload of Russian members.
The sealing was done bilingually, with parts of it directed at me in English and other parts for Vaimoni in Finnish. His advice bit was done twice, in both languages. (From experience, I’m glad to have been in a situation where he had to prepare something, not just wing it.)
After having some sandwiches and cake in the temple kitchen, we all said goodbye. Two days later we were in Helsinki, Finland for the reception, and the day after that Vaimoni and I flew off to London to start our new life together.
Two things stand out now in the memories of that day five years ago. The first is the feeling I had about these two families coming together, and the serendipity of it. Here we were from opposite sides of the globe, in this particularly Mormon moment, meeting together in the house of the Lord on a little hilltop next to a forest in Sweden, and now we have this link, this eternal connection, the creation of a new lineage. It still strikes both of us as a miracle.
The second is a moment I had with Vaimoni before the sealing as we walked to the store to buy a few things for lunch. After having been away from her for a time, I was nearly ecstatic with the sensation of being close to her, being able to touch her, kiss her, see her smile. I still feel the same distilled joy in her presence.