For P & E, with love:
As I scribble the first draft of this post in a notebook, LInda and I are flying home through the night sky, en route from Colorado after my younger son's wedding. The two-shot latte I had in the airport hasn't put a dent in my exhaustion, and at some point soon all the tears and complicated emotions I stiff-upper-lipped through at the wedding are going to have their way with me. But for right now, in this in-between time, not in heaven and not on Earth, I just want to write about joy and faith, because I was a blessed witness to both this past weekend.
I love my sons; they are determined, brilliant, creative men who give their all to the fight to make the world, or at least this country, a better place. They walk the talk in ways I simply don't, although they inspire me more than they probably realize. I'm not, and never have been, a perfect mother. I have made so many mistakes and more than a few selfish choices, but somehow these two have turned out to be amazing men, and what I want more than anything for both of them is that they be happy, fulfilled, and loved. So when P (my son) met E (my new daughter-in-law), and they were happy together, that was a good thing, though their eventual move 1800 miles away was hard for me to handle.
The move also meant that I didn't have much opportunity to get to know E, other than that she is very smart, funny, and equally dedicated to social, political, and environmental justice. That's maybe not a lot to know about a future daughter-in-law. I couldn't ask her how she felt about my son, whether she really loved him for who he is and not who she might want him to be, whether she envisioned a long-term future with him. I had to take their relationship on faith, because after all, it was their life and not mine.
There were readings by friends that spoke of acceptance and loving the whole person, quirks and all; readings about marriage as union through history; a poem. The gentle giant of an officiant spoke of their commitment not only to each other but to service and community. They exchanged profoundly moving vows they'd written together, about love and patience, political campaigns won or lost, adversity and adventure. The emotion in E's face and voice as she spoke told me all I really need to know about her. Their wedding rings, designed secretly by one for the other, captured the essence, beauty, and strength they see in each other. The officiant declared them husband and wife, with their newly hyphenated names, and we all applauded.
It wasn't a religious ceremony, and yet....it was a baptism as fully committed partners, a confirmation of a soul-deep faith, and a communion of community embracing these world changers with love and joy. And then...celebration ensued, hours of laughter and congratulations and dancing. I watched as this man I gave birth to, and the womon he loves, danced, surrounded by friends old and new, and compatriots-in-service, literally jumping with joy and exultation, all playful as puppies and powerful as young warriors.
As I look out the plane window tonight, into the darkness, a lighthouse far below breathes its guiding light...there must be a metaphor there, but we'll just leave it, a silent pulsing beacon lighting the night. We witnesses were blessed this weekend, and in awe of P and E's strength, faith, and love, I offer up this blessing, sending it winging through through the dark night, across the miles separating us:
May your faith in yourselves and each other be as constant as the mountains you call home.
May the joy you felt as you made your vows be as brilliant as the sun,
rising new with each sunrise.
May your love for each other and the love of all who witnessed your wedding
hold and sustain you
all the days of your lives.
**the sunrise photo at the top of this post is courtesy of Dana Gavin; the wedding cake photo (and yes, there is a dog and cat on top of the cake) is courtesy of Brian Kelly. Thanks to you both!**