[gallery columns="1"] Our home is empty for the first time in weeks. After two weeks of non-stop wedding-related visitors, plans and events, my husband and I took the bride and groom to the airport Sunday night and then crawled into bed before 8:00pm. It was still light outside when we fell asleep, and the next morning it was still a challenge to pull myself out of bed. I had big plans to wring every ounce of work I could out of this week, as it is the only week of the entire summer when my calendar is clear, but yesterday morning I saw those plans melt like morning fog when I finished my coffee and still felt like crawling back into bed. So I gave into it, and took my time getting the house back in order, catching up on email and phone calls and taking a long walk. Last night I was asleep by 9:00pm, and even though I feel better today, I am still not buzzing with energy like I'd hoped I'd be. But I'm in my studio and getting to work, and right now that feels momentous. I'm here! I'm working! Ta Da! Or at least it looks like I'm working; part of me still feels like I'm just sitting here staring at my keyboard and looking around at all of my art supplies thinking, "What are all these peculiar objects for, anyway?"
During the two weeks of all the wedding festivities, I had insane amounts of fun and ended up with armloads of moments that brought me to tears in the best way possible. It was beautiful, soulful, transformative and joyful, and was a huge time of healing for many of us involved. Like many weddings, it was a gathering where people came together with smiles on their faces along with deep, difficult feelings simmering beneath the surface, where any one of us could have made the choice to let those dark emotions spring forth and shatter everyone's hope for a close, connected family. But we all came to this event with our best intentions, and we were all rewarded for our efforts, as I believe everyone who was there is now getting back into the routine of their day to day lives with a special glow inside their hearts, and the knowledge that we are capable of so much more than we once believed. Perhaps we all made the decision to be our very best selves for the sake of the bride and groom or for our own sense of integrity, and perhaps at one time we believed that would be our greatest gift in the end - the knowledge that we made the newlyweds happy and didn't let ourselves down. But what we ended up getting was so much more - the realization that in our own complicated, unruly way, we've created a family, and that over the past two weeks each of us truly saw each other...each of us looked at those around us and recognized the essence that stirs within our hearts and compels us to surround ourselves with beauty and love as deeply as we can.
And what a gift that is...to be seen, to know that all the people we were trying to be brave and soft and compassionate for saw how hard we were trying, how willing we were to keep our fears and sad histories at bay and stay in the present, where there was nothing but love to drink in and not a single dark cloud in the sky. Sometimes, strangely, it is scarier to walk into the light and let it drip from our fingertips like honey, to send our demons away where they have no power over us, where we risk experiencing the greatest amount of love and joy, knowing that like everything in life, it won't last forever. But what will last forever is locked in our memories - the knowledge that we all gathered together to celebrate the love of two people, and what we found instead was that this was about the love of a much wider circle, and that all it takes to stay in that space is to make a choice to see the beauty within each of us, despite our flaws and foibles and fuck ups. We are each imperfect, we each have our own sad sack of stories, we are each wounded and vulnerable and delicate, but for a little while this month we were all whole, we were all cared for and adored and cherished. And it is my prayer today that we always feel that way with one another, that this healing continues and we never ever forget the light we saw in one another as we swam, laughed, celebrated and loved.