"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ceremony



Forty people were tucked into the cozy living room of my friend's house on a Saturday afternoon. Walt and I stood in the back, waiting along with everyone else, our focus on the steps leading into the kitchen. The room was warm, both with all the bodies and with all the years of family love embedded in every surface. The homeyness of her antiques and plants and quilts was brightened further by the reds and greens of Christmas. I've always admired this house constructed and filled and lived in by people with deep vision and total commitment to creating home. I love this friend and the family she and her husband built from a powerful sense of purpose.

Scanning the people around me, most of whom I didn't know, I marveled at how perfect the moment felt. This gathering of strangers to celebrate a coming together of lives in a formal ceremony. My friend's adult daughter sat at the piano and played music that might have brought tears to the eyes of angels. The younger daughter sat just in front of us, on the cusp of adulthood herself, and I wondered if she was imagining her own future wedding as I might have done in her shoes.

My friend's adult son came to stand at the top step with his great friend, who would officiate, where they both waited for the bride to arrive from upstairs.

While I don't know the son well, his mom and I have been friends for almost twenty years now. So I know him in the same way friends know everything that matters about each other. His path has been a rocky and rutted one. There were times when it seemed he followed no path at all and was in danger of careering off a precipice into a place of no return. I relate. Maybe we all do in some way.

He's no longer young, but there was a peace and quiet joy about him as he waited to marry a woman he's already created a good life with. He smiled fondly at his almost-teenaged daughter and her friend as they came forward giggling and tossing petals. The daughter stood at his side. His face lit up like Christmas morning at the sight of his bride wearing spring green and looking so much like new life.

The ceremony was light and filled with laughter. Joy radiated from the steps. My friend's son asked his daughter at the beginning if she gave her approval. She did. She helped push the ring onto the bride's hand. At one point she wrapped the bride in a fierce hug and thanked her for becoming her mom. The bride cried, as did every other person in the room.

The pronouncement came very quickly, followed by the kiss and the introduction of the couple as Mr. and Mrs. They stood for a moment absorbing the applause and the love and perfect moment of fresh start. That point in time from which every new thing would be seasoned by the fact that they were now officially married. Afterwards were pictures and visiting over tables of food. Toasting with sparkling cider. The cutting of the cake. More pictures. So much tradition. So much love. So much hope.

We left the party feeling a satisfied sense of witness and possibility. Grateful to have been included. Cleansed, at least for the moment, of the weight of a too-busy life and the clutter of the urgent masquerading as the important.

I don't know what the future holds for this new family. I know it won't all be easy and that the joy of their wedding day will be strained to the point of breaking in ways they can't even imagine yet. But I do know that somehow there is power in the gathering of loving witnesses, the speaking of vows, the declaring of family. I hope, I choose to believe, that power will be enough to sustain them and weld them and mold them into lives that fulfill the promise born on the day of their wedding ceremony.




11 comments:

Linda Myers said...

Lovely post, Deb, as usual. I love weddings. They remind me of hope and possibilities for all of us.

Linda Reeder said...

I hope you share this beautiful "wedding write up" with your friend and with the newly wed couple.
One of your many wonderfully written lines struck - "the clutter of the urgent masquerading as the important". I need that message as we enter into the thick of the holiday celebrating - not to let busyness mask true meaning.

DJan said...

Just lovely. I could feel myself there in the room with you, watching these two declare themselves a married couple, with not a dry eye in the house. Yes, I love weddings, too, Deb. Thank you for so elegantly allowing me to be there with you. :-)

Retired English Teacher said...

I concur with Linda. You always seem to have a line in your writing that zings me with a deep knowing of truth.

Blessings on the new bride and groom.

lily cedar said...

Sounds like a lovely wedding.

Keicha Christiansen said...

What a beautiful post and one I very much needed to read today. Thank you for so eloquently sharing this special day.

#1Nana said...

You paint a picture and I can see the gathering in my mind. I hope the bride and groom read your words...send them a copy on their anniversary.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

You have a way with words, Deb. What a wonderful gathering that was. I could see it through your words.

Have a great Christmas!

Terri Tiffany said...

Cleansed, at least for the moment, of the weight of a too-busy life and the clutter of the urgent masquerading as the important.

This is my favorite line. That's how you made me feel as I read your story,

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Beautiful. Ceremonies done well seem to renew all of us at least a little.

Dee said...

Dear Deb, a lovely posting. And I suspect the wisdom treaded through it is hard won in your life. But you do speak always from a depth of wisdom that enriches all our lives.

This line--"the clutter of the urgent masquerading as the important"--is so apt for the month of December. And I so often forget it. Thanks for reminding me.
Peace.