Waking early this morning, I clicked on the switch of the coffee pot I had prepared last night before I went to bed. My alarm had gone off particularly early today so I might rise to watch the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. I did this because I had also watched his parent’s wedding and his mother’s funeral, again waking early to make up the six hour time difference between here and London. Frankly, I had looked forward to it for weeks.
Now I know there are those who speak of the silliness of this obsession to watch a system, like a monarchy, play out, a system which our country actually went to war to free themselves of. I know there are also those who speak of what they call the terrible waste of money spent on such an event. Certainly, England is in the same economic mess we are and couldn’t this money have been spent in a better way? And the answer is yes. It certainly it could. But I see the same argument in this as I see every time there needs to be budget cuts in our schools and the ax moves too quickly to the music and art departments. As humans, we also need beauty and diversion and that which can lift us above the ordinary.
For me, watching these two young people on what may be the happiest day of their lives so far, provided just such a lift. I had already been shocked by the horror of the tornadoes that ripped across the southern part of our country. What to even do with the feelings of helplessness those people must be experiencing? In addition, I had learned today that a dear friend will no doubt die over the weekend and my heart is breaking for his wife who is such a dear one. To hold the beauty and joy of this couple on their wedding day alongside the pain and horror of the world seemed pure gift.
But isn’t this the way of life? We wake each morning with goodness and terror walking by our side as we make our way into a fragile world. We drink a cup of coffee,breathing in the rich, warm liquid, breathing out the nightmares that cling to our waking brains. We step out in faith knowing that others are walking a path of hopelessness and we feel desperate to help. We watch children laugh and play at the bus stop praying that today will be filled to overflowing with new discoveries. This living is a stew pot of extremes and if we are lucky, if we are blessed, we can choose to walk with some confidence on a path that has more hope than horror.
Today two young people chose to do an uncertain thing in the presence of those who love them while they were watched by billions of people they will never meet. They chose to commit to a relationship even though they know from personal experience that this kind of promise is risky, often painful, sometimes fails. But they decided to step out in hope and those of us who watched were somehow bathed in their enthusiasm. For a few moments, so much seemed possible. Beauty. Kindness. Commitment. Hope. Love. A future.
Of course, the ways of the world continued and there is much healing that is needed. But for those few moments I was able to glimpse the promise of newness not only for them but for all who make their way through this day. The promise of new life that might come out of the rubble of Alabama and the tears of all those who suffer this day held gently alongside the hope and love of a young couple taking the first steps of a life together.
This is life in all its fullness. To be held gently. To be savored. To be embraced with gratitude.
Have a blessed May Day weekend……..