When Faith Is Tested

Wildwood, early 1960s

I’m a creature of habit. On summer Sundays, I like nothing better than to pedal to the Inlet and take an early morning beach yoga class. To our right, charter fishing boats head out for the day’s catch. One of the boats plays “Taps.”

In front of us, surfers claim the day’s first waves for themselves, bobbing on their boards in a watery coffee klatsch.

The light is still soft, and families with very young children arrive at that hour. It takes me back to that precious time when my two daughters were small, and even further to my own childhood, when we rented a beachfront bungalow here for a couple of weeks.

At the end of a sandy shavasana, I reward myself with a cup of coffee from Carlson’s Corner and settle back on the beach with the Styles section from the New York Times. I save “Vows” for last. I do skim the wedding announcements, but I have to say, if your story isn’t interesting enough for Vows, I don’t really care how and where you met. That’s my pet peeve.

Anyway, when I began reading the July 22 Vows, I was dismayed to see it told in the first person, by the father of the bride. I almost didn’t read it. Then I did. It is two stories, maybe three: the love story of Bridget Kelly and Eric Strauss for sure, but also the story of a father’s love for a daughter, who suffered a terrible trauma and triumphed.

It was written by Michael Kelly, a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald, for which he has chronicled the attack on his daughter Bridget and her recovery over the last 10 years.

It is a straightforward accounting that left me in tears. I share it with you here.

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