Monday, July 7, 2008

What I've learned at weddings

This past weekend I had the happy occasion to attend the wedding of the young man who was my former assistant. He is a brilliant, motivated, capable and dynamic young man and in spite of the generation gap between us we have become fast friends. I call him my "son from another mother" and I wouldn't have missed his wedding for the world. As always, when I attend a wedding, I think back to all the other weddings I have attended, most especially my own. A hundred thoughts race through my head when I hear the familar words declared by the officiate, "to have and to hold... better or worse ...sickness", followed by the final pronouncement, "husband and wife".

I invariably choke up and fight back tears. In years past, they were tears of regret for the unhappiness I was experiencing in my own marriage. The thought of someone else walking into that tender trap was sorrowful to me. I fought back tears of sadness at the realization that all the promises and romance of early marriage lose their luster all too soon in the harsh environment of day-to-day reality. I struggled to keep up the appearance that all was reasonably well in my world, all the while feeling like a hypocrite for doing so.

This wedding was different. At this celebration, I relived the magic moments of my own wedding. At certain points during the ceremony my husband and I exchanged knowing glances and furtive smiles. Our children were seated between us as living testimony to our years together. It would seem that somewhere during the last few years, I began shedding the mantle of marital martyrdom and realized that the struggles, the disappointment, the arguments, the pain are all part and parcel of the covenant known as marriage. They are as much a part of it as are the joys, the laughter, the excitement, the "firsts' in our lives together. Apparently after all these years I have finally grown up. Aaah, so this is what it feels like.

So what have I learned at weddings? That life is a endless circle, just as signified by those bands of gold, and that if we're patient...very, very patient...things manage to come around again to a place of reconciliation and, in the best of scenarios, redemption. I've learned that no matter how dysfunctional a family is, there is magic, strength and love in those ties that bind, however warped they may appear to be. I've learned you're never too old to dream, to hope or to love.

And there's one more thing I learned. If you look, really look, into the faces of two people who truly love each other, you will find heaven.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

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