For Sarah

A gorgeous gown, glowing smiles, eager anticipation and love, fresh young faces on the brink of their lives together: Beauty. Guests in their finery, laughing and hugging, happy to see familiar but rarely-seen faces, happy to step into the magic with the couple of the day for a few short hours.

For the second time this summer, immersed in the joy of the moment, I was also aware of the many stories, both happy and sad, leading up to this day. And despite our divorce rates and widespread disillusionment with the institution of marriage, I’m happy we’re still getting married—I believe there is great value in the public affirmation of and community support for the melding of two lives.

I remember this particular young woman as an infant, a spirited child who knew what she wanted and didn’t want, and was unafraid to say so, through tears, through smiles, through whatever. Mother-toddler exchanges were mostly some variation of the following: “You’re tired/hungry/need to use the washroom,” met by an instant and determined “I am not, I am not, I am not.” I remember well her easy expression of affection and emotion, sorrow and joy.

I hope you’re able to keep that spiritedness alive, dear Sarah. Trust your intuitions. And I hope you’re able to keep your sense of fun going, to pursue and find whatever it is that will have the power to drive your smile through all the different stages of life. Because though the path ahead will hold plenty that will demand thoughtful earnest responses, fun is essential. Fun, actually the sharing of our laughter and our tears, is the best of relational glues, stronger than a will of steel. I know from experience that if you’re well-matched, which you truly seem to be, it is possible to keep much of today’s joy and optimism alive. The secret lies in chasing pleasure often enough that the good times outweigh the grind of work and familiarity.


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