October 30, 2007

A Camelot Wedding, Some Perspective

A couple of weekends ago, my older sister got re-married. Her first wedding was pretty and mostly traditional. Most of her family (while happy for her) didn't really understand why THIS wedding had to be elaborate to the point of being spectacular. She's done it once, he's done it once, why do we all have to do it again? I'm about as romantic as a wet leaf, so I was definitely wondering why. I wasn't asking why, because I made up my mind early on that I would not do or say anything to steal even an ounce of her enthusiasm and joy. Still, I was wondering.

So, Friday evening those of us involved in the wedding gathered on the field for rehearsal. The dancers stumbled through their routine, the horses (yes, horses) were not happy with all of the people and weren't on their best behavior, some people couldn't make it that early, and so on. We made it through one very rough run-through when one of the adults came to the field and announced that all must stop. Somehow, my three-year-old niece had vanished into thin air. One second she was playing on the floor with my dog under watchful eyes; the next second she was gone. No one could say how one toddler could disappear so thoroughly, but we went into full-scale search mode. A lost little girl in the Cherokee National Forest with a handy lake on the property is bad news. We searched cars, called out search-and-rescue, sent people to watch the lake and search the woods, and sent others in cars even though in eight minutes one child could NOT have gotten far. Then, someone found her. The poor baby had an "accident" and was hiding in her room in embarrassment compounded (likely) by 30+ people yelling her name. We looked in her room, but she was hidden well. Search-and-rescue got called off before they had time to mobilize. We shouted the good news in a chain throughout the property. We rang the big bell that usually calls campers to meals or worship. We did not finish the rehearsal. Even to my older sister, it just wasn't that important. The wedding would go as it went, but until then, it was out of the spotlight. We had dinner instead, and the relief in the air was palpable. During all the stress of the rest of the preparations - rotten strawberries, lost bobby pins, a broken car - we all had a clear reminder to relax and enjoy the day. We hadn't lost one little girl, nothing else was as big a deal is it might have otherwise seemed.

The wedding was gorgeous. The dancers weren't perfect, but it was prettily done. The horses weren't thrilled, but they didn't freak out and dump their happy riders into the lake. The whole scene was like a fairytale or a movie. The spotlight was back on the celebration. It was a good day.

I'm not wondering why anymore, either. Somewhere in the chaos, I realized that even though they'd both been through the ceremony (not like this!) before, this time was about starting anew. It was about launching happily ever after properly (properly for them). It wasn't about experiencing the wedding ceremony, it was about emphasizing the absolute importance of THIS wedding ceremony to them and their children.

Take ten minutes to appreciate what's precious and important. It'll be far less exhausting than taking a whole weekend of working and searching. ;)

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