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A Message from Miss Sue

The following message is from Susan Gardner Khaury.  It was composed and printed in the liturgy booklet for her wedding to Tiny Tim on August 18, 1995. They were married in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Minnetonka, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.  This was written partially in response to parishioners' questions about why the two were being wed at the church, although they did not belong to that parish.

Why Immaculate Heart of Mary?

by Miss Sue

"IHM" is not a just a big-enough church with two great parking lots. This was the church where the Gardner family attended Mass on Sundays all through my childhood. I went to grade school here, played on these playgrounds and ate in this cafeteria, where my Auntie Alice worked for many years. (I can still see her waving at me from the kitchen.) Every area of this building and grounds has some memory of little playmates, now grown, with careers and children of their own. I remember wonderful, patient teachers learning to spell my name, discovering great books and reading my first poem. In this building I was confirmed, in black patent leather shoes and white gloves. Here I heard the great hymns of my faith, contemplated the Stations of the Cross and experienced the joy of Easter and Christmas. From this pulpit I was amazed to hear that my beloved golden retriever, who was missing, could be picked up at the rectory after Mass. (The priest owned a very pretty female golden retriever.)

In this gym we had assemblies where I was always surprised to hear my name called to receive various awards medals and religious statues all proudly displayed in my room, even as I got older and horse show ribbons and music posters began to appear on the walls.

This was the school I was attending in 1968 when Tiny Tim became a star. I was twelve years old and he was the first guy I ever had a crush on. He seemed like such a sweet person, so gentle and funny. His songs were wholesome, singable and happy. In an era when most musicians wore black leather and a contemptuous sneer, he wore rumply suits and a shy smile. When most musicians were glorifying drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex, he talked about God, romantic love, the importance of family and patriotism, which was very out of style. In an era when most musicians took themselves and the world very seriously, when melodrama and melancholy were really "hip", Tiny was not afraid to be optimistic and laugh even at himself.

People said Tiny was crazy. I never understood why. I thought he was the sane one. They said he was ugly. I never understood that, either. I thought he had beautiful eyes, a wonderful smile, and the greatest hair in the world. I even loved the famous nose. I loved everything about him and everything he stood for.

In the later years I forgot the things I believed and loved when I was here at IHM. I turned my back on God. I became rebellious. I went through many difficult times. I wish that, during those awful years, I could have known what beautiful things God had in store for me what wonderful surprises. But God had to let me play out my time of rebellion until I got to the end of my rope. Finally, six years ago, I came back to the Lord. In fact, my spiritual birthday is right around August 12th. That set the stage; that began the process that has brought me full circle, back to this place, and to the one I have always loved.

How I wish my adult self, my middle-aged self, could reach back through time and speak to the child who roamed these halls, and tell her the beautiful secret of the future that God had planned all along.

I have no illusions that things will always be easy from now on. Two life-long loners will have many adjustments to make, and we both have health problems to deal with. Also, barring unusual circumstances, I will probably have the misfortune to outlive my sweetheart by several decades.

Yet I certainly have no complaints. I was a rebel who deserved nothing from the Lord, and He has chosen to give me a fairy tale romance. He has let me see great happiness in this life, and I pray that He allows it to continue for a long, long time. I pray that I can make my new husband very happy. I am so proud to take his name!

I also pray that if hard times come, either in the marriage or beyond, I can always remember how impossible it was to believe that God would ever do this wonderful thing that He is doing for me today. How it seemed that suffering would never end that God had forgotten me that He didnt care. Just a little over a year ago, this marriage would have seemed as remote, impossible and unbelievable as the idea of heaven. If God can do this, and did do this, then He can do anything! Of course, I knew that, but now I know it in my heart.

I know that someday, when I am with the Lord, I will wish I had always been able to see the reality of God and the wonderful future life He has in store for all who love Him. I will wish I could reach back through time and tell my present self about the beautiful surprise that He had planned all along. And Ill wish I could tell you, too.

So, I pray now that through any tough times, we can all have the faith to know that, if we trust in Him, He will in due time save us from all trouble and pain, and bring us to a place of perfect happiness. And I thank Him for giving me Tiny, who has given me a little taste of heaven.

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Copyright 1998, Susan Khaury

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