Weddings are not about romantic love. That thread weaves through the day, but it is not the most significant or central. In the tapestry of the celebration, other threads form the main patterns.
On a most fair and lovely summer day
Under shady trees and on softest grass
A couple married under sunshine’s ray
A noble gentleman and a fine lass
I have the privilege of attending the wedding of a friend. It is held in a forest reserve. A few arching trees form the roof of the cathedral. Sunlight plays through the leaves as though passing through stained glass windows. Grass makes for a carpet of green. And every now and then, the wind decides to sing its lighthearted song of joy.
Everything is beautiful. Everyone is beautiful. The couple is beautiful.
For me, the major events of the wedding – the processions, the music, or even the kiss – do not define the day. They are significant, but two other events stand out more. Those two moments capture the essence of what the celebration is about.
See drops fall to earth
Flowing from love’s deep wellspring
Tears nourish us all
The first is as the father of the bride offers a blessing to his daughter. Overwhelmed with the gravity and significance of the event, overflowing with love for his daughter, he begins to cry. Through the tears he blesses the couple. With a few sniffles he gives a prayer for them both.
It is a magnificent thing to see a man cry in such a time. Seeing someone so open to the emotion and power of the day that he is moved to tears affects me. For he cried from the depth of his loss, the depth of his joy, the depth of his love, and the depth of his humanity.
See the joy-filled eyes
Shining with love’s abundance
They make us smile big
The second moment is during the couple’s first dance. While most eyes are, as expected, on the couple, I catch a glimpse of the mother of the groom. She watches the two in happiness. Her eyes shine, reflecting the light of the afternoon. Her lips smile all the way up to the soft crinkle in her eyes. She sways lightly to the music, taking it all in. Pure joy rests upon her.
It is a beautiful thing to see a woman smile in such a time. Witnessing someone so open to the joy and beauty of the day, radiating her biggest smile, affects me. For she smiles from the depth of her contentment, the depth of her happiness, the depth of her love, and the depth of her humanity.
And in that sacred space, they show the depth of who they really are. We see their true and noble spirits. We share with them the depth of the day.
Dark magic swirls within my coffee cup
The tastes and smells sing songs of true delight
Rejoice my soul as you are lifted up
As in me I discover all that’s right
The grounds of the wedding are not the only source of depth. I have other sacred spaces.
There is a moment in nearly every day that I have come to enjoy. Sometime in the afternoon, I rise from my work and prepare a cup of coffee – or walk a few minutes to a cafe to get one. And then I sit.
The coffee itself is delightful. Complex and wondrous smells fill my nose. Slowly, I drink it. One sip at a time, I savor it.
As I sit, I ponder the world. I think about the events of the day – in all their challenge and in all their beauty. I dream of the possibilities that lie before me – in all their hope and in all their greatness. But most of all, I listen.
I listen to the words of my heart. I see the wonder and complexities that go far beyond those of my cup of coffee. I know myself in all its depth – the depth of my hope, the depth of my joy, the depth of my strength, the depth of my love, and the depth of my humanity.
And in that sacred space, in the center of the calm and quiet, I show the depth of who I really am. I see my true and noble spirit. I share with myself the depth of the moment.
Have you seen the weaving of the holy
The great tapestry of the sacred ground
It draws in what’s high and what is lowly
To reveal the depth that is all around
Sacred spaces are where the treads come together. The full complexity comes out.
People come together. On the wedding day, two become one. Friends meet and rejoice with friends. Families meet and grow closer. Strangers lose their strangeness and are known. Depth is shared.
Ideas come together. In the peace of a cup of coffee, your mind receives the freedom to move through the slow but mighty processes. One thought touches another. One emotion joins with another. The threads weave, forming dreams, understanding, and creation. Depth is expressed.
Life comes together. Its elements – work, play, relationships, worship, and rest – mingle. What was separate now becomes one. You are whole. Depth becomes.
Return again to those most sacred spaces
See in you the light shining from above
Return again to the cherished places
See in yourself the holy depths of love
In the sacred spaces you find the depth of yourself. You see you are stronger than you imagined. You understand you have more hope than you knew before. You know you can love beyond what you thought possible. You witness the depths and complexities of your heart.
All of that which lies on the surface clears away so you can look below the waves. The noise dims down so you can hear the quiet, beautiful voice within. You hear the sweet song carried by the deep currents of humanity. And you sing along.
In the sacred spaces you find the depth of love. You take in its pure and noble radiance. It fills you to overflowing. And that is what weddings are really about.
What are your sacred spaces? Who do you find when you go there?
Accenting the cathedral. I made this photo in Chicago, IL.