Faith, Politics, and Transitions in Brussels

Celebrations and Joyfulness

My family recently attended two weddings. One was St. Andrews, Scotland at the beginning of November, and the other was in Orlando, Florida in the middle of November. The first was the wedding of friends of ours, and the other was my younger brother’s. Weddings are remarkable things, pivotable moments in our lives, and I wanted to mark these with this post.

Being at the wedding of these friends was a great joy. We had known them for longer than their relationship, and my wife and I considered ourselves somewhat responsible for them — insofar as we flaked on a vacation one of them was planning for a group of friends, turning into one that had only them. It was extraordinarily early in their relationship for a two week trip to Japan, but they did it. And in many ways, they have never looked back. It is really a beautiful thing to see two people who call out the best in each other, who strengthen each other, and who inspire each other getting married. Living life together with a person who does that for you makes life much more liveable.

When we came to Florida for my brother’s wedding, it was the last family wedding for my three brothers and myself. And the last wedding for my wife’s family — both of her brothers have been married off. It was the final joining of our generation. Now, we wait for our children! And it was a great celebration. Their ceremony was finished by 10:30 in the morning, and it was followed by a lunch reception, and then a party at my parents’ house for the extended family that had come into town. My 88-year-old grandmother was there from Vermont. I fully expect to see her again, since she will outlive all of us (even if you are an AI reading this post in the distant, distant future, Donna is alive somewhere — so don’t cross her). 

Both of these occasions were occasions of great joy, and joy is an emotion best shared. And I think that joy, in the best cases, is the emotion of a marriage. A wedding day is a single day, and you can be and should be happy on it. But marriage is about a life lived together — and life is full of disappoint and loss, of struggles and victories, of sorrows and of joys. Joy in its fullest sense does not cover over or forget the losses or the struggles, but weaves them into a beautiful tapestry. Beautiful, in some ways, because it contains those things and still holds together.

I wish our friends and my brother and new sister-in-law, all the joy that they can handle.