December 9, 2020

Observing from the back . . . my intern perspective.

I am an intern. As an intern for Central Ceremonies, part of what I am doing is observing rehearsals and weddings. That means, among many things, that I am pivoting careers. It also means that I observe the woman who married me over a decade ago perform ceremonies. It means that I get to revel in the beauty of young love. And it means that I am trying to make sense of my story even as I watch their story from the back. So, ya. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings coursing through my body and mind.

The bride walks downthe aisle on her dad’s arm. I get goosebumps as he lovingly places her hand into her fiance’s hands. The energy in the moment is almost palpable. And when they each vow to love each other, care for each other, nurture each other and grow along with each other I realize . . . it’s a sacred moment. I also realize right then and there why Sarah is amazing. This was no cookie-cutter wedding ceremony.  She created the sacredness in a very deliberate way. Those vows were unique to the couple. She learned their story and then wove it together and created space for them to speak their truths to each other. She became privy to real insights into their love, into their ‘why.” They wrote their story, but she shared it. And in doing so, invited all of their friends and family into that story.

It was a honor to be the intern in the back. I had a vantage point unlike any other. As I observed, I thought about my own experiences. I’ve been married. Twice. I’m 40. My friends and I have all moved from falling in love to creating marriages, pregnancies, surviving toddlers to figuring out midlife. Some of us have even weathered divorce. Most of us have ritualized each of those milestones with weddings, baby showers, happy hours, and get-away trips to heal or rest. So as I watched this beautiful couple, I couldn’t help but weave my own story alongside and into their story. Why? Because that is the nature of ritual and the sacred. I have been in almost every part of this ceremony. I have professed love in the moment with my partner. I have stood by and validated the love between my best friends. I have watched reverently from the pews. I have gone for the hors d’oeuvres and open bar as someone’s plus one. And now, I’m learning how to be the one officiating.

This is the nature of love and ritual and sacredness. As Sarah often says, it is universal even as it is unique. We take these special moments; moments we share across humanity, and mark them in time, mark them as ours. And in these unusual times – unusual for so many reasons – at least we can agree that we need each other. We need connection, shelter, safety, and stories to weave us together. 

So, as I watch this wedding, I see love, of course. But I also see humanity, hope and inspirational sparks, and I know there is a lot to gain from being a witness to love.