Saturday, August 03, 2019

Big and Beautiful Moments

One of my nieces got married this past week. I stream-shared the service with our extended family by recording a Facebook Live video. The one thing I can love about Facebook is that it was a way for our family spread all over the world to witness the service.

A wedding ceremony is such a beautiful event. And I'm not talking about the clothes or flowers or all the other ornate things. It's just such a big moment with big consequences that I always feel like life is suspended for that little while. A wedding is, just by itself, such a holy and sanctified event that, as a guest, I always feel like I'm sitting in the presence of angels.

Actually, I love all kinds of ceremonies for deep and meaningful things. I remember vividly the christening of my sister's twins. That was just the most amazing thing - to see those babies sleeping so peacefully while we had them blessed and prayed over. They weren't even aware that, no matter what happened all the rest of their lives - long or short - people had asked God to bless and keep them.

And funerals are the hardest ceremonies to experience. It's like the very public acceptance of the reality of death. Sad but, I believe, necessary. Funerals are never for the dead, but only a way for those left alive to begin dealing with their grief. A way to force us to deal with our grief.

Weddings though, there is just something so special about them. It doesn't matter if the couple is rich or poor, royal or common. The location and surroundings don't have to be exotic or formal. The biggest thing about the wedding is that two people are about to start a life together. That's a really big deal.

While I was watching my niece go from being a single person to becoming a family with this person she loves, I kept thinking of her as the little girl she used to be. When she was young, she could be shy, she could be daring, and she could tapdance on your last good nerve by pushing the rules. To paraphrase Stevie Wonder, she had once been a little nappy-headed child. Now suddenly, she was this grown woman standing at the wedding altar with this aura of joy radiating out of her. Just unreal. And the groom couldn't take his eyes off of her. He looked mesmerized and I wondered if he was remembering to breathe. I can't even properly describe how happy they both looked. They found something that not everyone does.

I don't care what modern vibes dictate, I still believe in old-fashioned commitment so I love everything about taking vows and coupling up. That's why I was fascinated by something the officiating minister did during this ceremony.  Before reciting the traditional rites, he handed the bride and groom cups of sand, each of a different color. He spoke about what it means to be two separate and single people, each with their individual thoughts, ideas, and emotions. He said that marriage was the act of those separate people willingly coming together, joining their hearts and goals to become as one. He then had them pour their cups of sand into a single bowl, explaining that, like the sand, they were now coming together to make something new. That was the nicest illustration of marriage that I have ever witnessed.

You need to know that the groom is already the father of a young child who stood next to the best man during the service. So, while I am already tearing up at the whole pouring of the sand thing, the minister went next level. He called the child forward and explained that was an extension of this new union between the bride and groom. Then he gave the kid a cup of sand to pour into the bowl.

Listen, at this point, I couldn't hold back the tears any longer. Not just me, but everyone in the church is sniffling and snuffling. I'm trying to hold the phone up to keep recording while I wipe my eyes and nose. I'm a complete mess. People watching the video are commenting that they can hear me crying. Yeah. Like they weren't all crying right along with me. We can, on occasion, be an emotional bunch of folk.


It's a week later, and am still thinking of the wedding. What a big moment for those two young people. Huge moment. I hope they cherish the magnitude of what they have done. I wish that I had appreciated my own ceremony and what it meant. I was so young and foolish. Thankfully, I truly believe that my niece and her new husband get it. I could almost see her shining with happiness and gratitude as she was escorted up the aisle by my brother. As she and the groom came down the aisle, on the way into their new life, they both looked so happy and giddy. Almost like they were thinking, "Did we just do this?" They were so dang adorable. And now there are even more people in my family to love.

So, yeah, that was a big, big moment. For the couple and for their child. I don't think I can take any more ceremonies of any kind for a while. I'm still feeling the emotional high from that wedding. I just wish so much that my mother could have been here to see her youngest son's youngest daughter getting married and becoming all in one day not just a wife but a mother too. Mom would be so proud. And she would have right there, crying with me.

Now I am over here, holding my breath, waiting for the next beautiful thing to happen, whatever it may be.


It's a little sugary sweet, but it's also perfect for this post