Today, at 4pm, family friends of ours will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary by renewing their vows. They are an incredible couple and I am excited to be able to celebrate with them and with their family.
They go to my church, although the connection between our families is long and complicated. There are friendships, professional relationships, broken romances….it’s everything lovely and awkward that a small town connection could be. And more. But these two lovely people, full of wit, charm, and so much love, shine like lighthouses on a foggy night. I have never left their presence without a smile and the impression of having been hugged by a grandparent.
I will be working in the media booth for part of the day today, queuing music and playing videos throughout the program, at the request of their daughter and our pastors…but I want to make sure I celebrating too. It’s so easy to get caught up in the tasks, in the details and rules and necessities of making an event run well. At Living Joy we do events well, with lots is energy and lots of bustling around and there are a few of us on the background team that get lost in the details. We spend the evening running up and down stairs, checking water jugs, clearing plates and keeping the program on schedule and often forget what the point of it all is. This is not to say that we don’t enjoy the event, that we don’t celebrate, but there are times when we could sit. Could take a breathe, smile and simply realize what is unfolding around us in that moment.
It reminds me of the mother who spends the birthday party in the kitchen and behind the camera and feels bad when her child asks “why aren’t there any pictures of you?” Or the friend who spends weeks organizing a surprise party and then gets stuck on the phone dealing with the bakery who lost the cake order.
Amy, the beautiful bride today, said something yesterday that made smile and also made me sit back to think. She was asked by the pastors if she had a few minutes to chat or if they were too busy, running around making preparations and seeing people who had travelled for today’s celebrations.
Amy laughed and said, “That’s the nice thing about being 70, We don’t have to worry about anything. We don’t care.”
She wasn’t saying that they didn’t care about the ceremony or the reason everyone was here, but rather that the details didn’t matter. What matters is that their friends and family are coming together to celebrate, they are renewing their vows, and they have been married for 50 years. So if the music doesn’t work, or someone forgets the words to their song, or the power goes out, if the foods late, or babies start crying through the vows…it doesn’t matter. These are all parts of life, and they can only detract from the love and the joy in that space and those people if we let it.
So today I will run the media, I will bust tables and I will help organize volunteers but it will not be my main focus.
I will enjoy my time with two amazing people, that I could learn from each day. I will rejoice in the fact that they have made it through 50 years (and counting) of tests and celebrations and come out of it smiling. I will catch myself wishing to one day have a story and a legacy like theirs, full of love and joy and so many smiling faces.
And I will celebrate.