We were invited with the whole of our extended family to a beautiful bay in mid-coast Maine for a family wedding. The weekend turned out to be one of awe and inspiration for my family members and friends who shared the ideal wedding day with the bride and groom. I had a lovely wedding, but my husband over-invited people from his side and during the reception a fistfight began. At my sister’s wedding a similar thing happened, and the one at fault was the now father of the groom. Ah, the memories. I digress.
This event was held on the property owned by my cousin Paula, and her husband, Steve. Paula and Steve are the parents of the groom. This place holds memories for me. We had an outstanding family reunion there several years ago. And when I was a kid my parents rented the small apartment side of the house for a family vacation. Our host for that vacation was someone who I would later date for a short time, and is brother to the dad of the groom. Okay, I am off the point here, except that he and I had a few moments at the wedding to catch up and it turns out that he has suffered terribly with depression for years. I had not known the extent of his problem until this. Back to the point, I took a long, loving look at all of the people there and in that moment saw all of their stories of deep sadness and disappointment. Most of us had children and with them have suffered their suffering. Then there are the ones who could not have children and are here with their beautiful adopted children. They had years of deep stress and sadness for not being able to conceive. One of those adopted children is grown up now and met his biological mother about fifteen years ago. He was the first born of the three sons to the mother of the groom at the age of 17 and was given up for adoption. His parents now are close friends of our extended family and are as much a part of our family as their son is. They also encouraged their daughter to find her birth mom. This daughter is now so much more peaceful in her life because her parents could keep their hearts open and trust. I was also noticing the relatives who have lost spouses or are divorced. Some have gone on to remarry, and taken on lots of stepchildren.
I saw my daughters and how they have struggled with problems, and have seen them grow as they opened their hearts. A most inspiring part of this experience for me was being aware that I was watching the years of my life passing before my eyes and I didn’t have to die to do it. I was watching the many scenarios of the lives of those I love and have always known. It was the realization that while I was going through my own problems, I was detached from them, from the whole, and not giving the support I could have been when they needed it, nor receiving support from them, which I could have used. In that moment I was dancing on the dance floor, surrounded by almost all of the women in my family from the youngest to the oldest and we were one, loving energy together (singing loudly together with imaginary phones to our ears, “so call me, maybe”). I don’t think I have ever felt anything quite like it. A lesson there for me was realizing that in the midst of our not-so-perfect lives, we are gifted these moments when we can suspend life, with all its heartache and join others in the dream of perfection for the new life of the couple in love who we came to celebrate at this wedding. Oh, the couple will have their share of deep heartaches too, but will somehow get through them. What is perfect about this wedding for me? It is to witness that by keeping our minds and hearts open and loving, big problems in life will be overcome…. in the grace of time.