I went to a wedding last weekend. I didn’t actually receive an invitation or know the couple well, but other friends did so I tagged along. Aspects of the service were tailored to the preferences of the bride and groom (e.g., the hipster music, handmade programs, etc.), but it was still a wedding, and as such followed the general patterns that all weddings do.
There were candles and flowers, words of welcome, vows, and some sort of homily. At the reception there was cake and coffee; mingling, eating, chatting, and dancing.
Nate and Amanda’s first dance as a married couple was haphazardly choreographed, but lovely nonetheless.
There was something truly beautiful in watching them attempt to synchronize their movements and work together. Following the first dance was the father-daughter/mother-son number. As the bride and groom embraced with their respective parent a slideshow was projected in the back of the room.
It was one of those slideshows you see at graduations, anniversaries, and other celebrations of life.
The ones that start with a baby photo taken in a hospital and conclude with the most recent semi-professional photograph of the person being celebrated, honored, or remembered. In the middle are snapshots of holidays and family vacations, a toddler in a bath tub or Superman underpants; girl with a princess crown on her head and chocolate cake all over her face. Though onlookers don’t remember the trip to the Grand or know the significance of the pink-spotted rhino, we stay and we watch; and even if we’ve only met the subject of all those photos just a few weeks ago, we’re somehow sad when the screen goes black. It’s not that we’re saddened by the end of the show, so much as the gravity of an individual life. Each of those photos, each of those memories captures a person, a place, a story. Canyon
I was going through Facebook albums the other day and was struck by some of the faces looking back at me: my friends as children, my college professors as students, my mentors and advisors as young parents with bad haircuts. I see them and I wonder, Is that middle school football player the man who moved across the country to attend medical school? Is that decked out prom queen the woman who bakes pastries for our small group on
Saturday mornings? I viewed albums from trips I never took, schools I never attended, holidays I didn’t celebrate. Later on I met one of those friends for coffee and wondered – Is this Eric the one that competed to be Mr. North Kansas City, or the one who is going to seminary in ? Flipping the question back on myself, am I the 9-year-old girl who wanted to be an author or the recent graduate who wanted to teach overseas? Atlanta