I accidentally found myself at a wedding on Saturday evening.
To be fair, this was not entirely my fault. Since it's fashion week here in new york city (there is a post coming on this, friends. oh is there a post coming) I figured the chairs being set up were for an outdoor show. But as I turned the pages of my book and sipped my peach green iced tea and watched guests arrive, I started to put it together.
In the photo above, you'll note I was about four feet behind the third row of chairs. I mean, I was AT this wedding, you know? (As were many other people, including fashion week attendees in full on nyfw garb, and many tourists who took photos of the wedding as though they knew the groom and bride. and yes, okay I took a photo, too, but it was for you guys. So that makes me exempt.) So I'm sitting there, wondering if I should leave, or stay, and wondering why I felt the need to come back to this place at this particular time when I had already been there earlier.
And then it hit me why I was here at this exact time.
This massive declaration of love was about to happen in nearly the exact same spot where my love broke earlier this year. We're talking less than a handful of feet apart. And it hit me in that way where it was being told to me. And I started to laugh: here we go again. More lessons, more growth, more being poured into my soul.
Yet again, I was being told that the massive undoing of me was for a reason. The breaks and cracks were for a reason - so the broken places could be filled back in with light and love and lessons that God knew I needed. He had tried to get them into my thick skull and stubborn self so many times but I pushed right back, refusing them. So He went ahead and used the human that I've learned nearly all of my important lessons through to get these through to me. Of course (well played, God, well played). And let's be clear here: it is not about the other person. Just like the people and situations that are used in your life to teach you things are not the actual issue. It's all about what God is trying to teach you, and your growth on your specific path. I would have never let any of this in if I wasn't first broken down. There was no room for it to get in unless I was cracked open.
The wedding, as it turns out, was actually a renewal ceremony. Which felt even more appropriate for this particular situation in my life, and made me laugh again, as God really does speak directly to us if we're willing to listen. The renewal was for 1.5 years of marriage. Have you heard of anyone doing this? I was thinking 5, maybe 10 years in. But 18 months? And this was already their third ceremony. Before my judgmental little voice could pop up, all I could think was how fucking awesome that is. These people are so in love that they are choosing each other, in public, in front of loved ones, yet again. That's how much they choose the other. And isn't that what it's all about? The choosing, every single day. Picking that person, over and over, even in times where they drive you nuts or hurt you or do stupid things. Knowing that person is choosing you, too. I've spent a lot of time circling the idea that the loving can often be much easier than the choosing. If you love someone with everything you are but you don't understand that you must actively choose them (and yourself), you're cooked. Choosing is the action that makes Love a verb. I choose you. I'm with you. Every day. And friends, this goes beyond relationships. The same thought can be applied to our careers, passions, and callings.
These lessons are coming in layers. In this perfectly timed way that is surely not my doing. There is no way that I could have understood what was being taught to me before this exact moment. My range of responses would have been to hate the couple for choosing someone and being chosen, to judge their intense amount of spending on weddings, to feel annoyed they were interrupting my reading time, or to just ache. But my lessons have been built, one on top of the other, in a way that is very meant. The messages are sometimes very clear and sometimes require a slow unwrapping, but all are equally important in carrying me from one point to the next on this path.
I can't fully sum up in words all of what was put into my being then, but I can start with this:
the places and pieces of you that feel the most pain, will slowly but surely wind their way back to being all about Love. If you let them. If you keep going on with your fingers sticking in your ears singing la-la-la-i-can't-hear-you at the top of your lungs, then it's going to take a hell of a lot longer. But if you stop thinking you know what's best, and let in each layer of healing, regardless if it's something that seems insignificant or something thrown at you like a lavishly grand vow renewal service in the middle of manhattan on a hot september day, you start to recognize they are all intricately designed pieces of a path that is sending you directly back to Love. Go to those literal and metaphorical painful places, and sit in them. Be present in them with your eyes and heart wide open.
Even a place you felt was broken will eventually be covered in Love again, rose petals on the ground, smiles on faces, and the freeing knowledge that the weight of pain can never come close to touching the joy of Love.