April 18, 2019

My wedding rehearsals are full of little bits of instruction, trivia, announcements, and well – rehearsing. It’s not a science, but it does make life easier. One announcement I make is, of course, to not lock your knees.   Fainting isn’t fun, and dramatic moments are mostly overrated. I always tell the wedding party that I do have smelling salts on me should anyone faint. And I do. And yes, it’s happened.

At one hot and still wedding, I almost lost a member of the wedding party. I did catch her before she hit the ground, and she participated from a chair we procured for the remainder of the ceremony. But during those moments, my couple was left standing. Stuck. Motionless. Breathe held. It was as if the pause button had been hit, or they’d decided to participate in the (in)famous Mannequin Challenge.

As much as I talk about marriage being a series of moments, and marriage is a verb, there are also spaces, pauses, silences in marriage. Some of them are good, some are challenging, some are sad, and some just are. As vividly as I remember this couple stuck in pause in the middle of their marriage, I remember a certain pause in my own marriage. The loss of my mother was among the top three significant moments in my life, and not necessarily in a good way. I had no energy, no focus, no drive. I had nothing to give my husband in those dark days. Grief was all I knew. So, our marriage waited. It went quiet.

Space and silence are underrated in our society. But as any yoga teacher will tell you, the pause at the top of the breath and the release of breath must be noticed as much as the breath itself. And a musician understands that the rest is just as significant as any note in music. A farmer knows ground must sit fallow at times. It doesn’t mean it’s dead. Nor does it mean you can stay there. For my couple, we resumed wedding vows as soon as we knew the attendant was seated and steady. For my marriage, grief turned into mourning, and my husband was waiting for me as I re-entered the land of the living. Neither required the jolt of smelling salts, but for the record, I do still keep them around.