And when it's is over I want to say....

Today my youngest daughter will be married in a ceremony at their hill town farm.  It is a stunning setting that evokes the couple's values as well as their commitment to both community and contemplation. I don't mean this in any overtly religious way, but rather as a way of engaging the world. It is an open, simple home set away from the hustle and distractions that often infect our best intentions. There is space to walk and think, garden and soak up the silence. It is just the right spot to sanctify their vows.
Last night there was a laid back prelude to the celebration as family and friends slowly gathered at the farm from around the country. There were last minute chores to complete. Introductions were shared and new people discovered old connections as conversations about music, children and the state of American education filled the air. In time, beer and pizza appeared as still more travelers found there way into the quiet comfort of this country retreat.
As we drove home in the darkness, I kept drifting back to the words of Mary Oliver. Once she wrote:

to live in this world

you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go

There is a sweet "letting go" of sorts taking place for me as I celebrate this daughter's wisdom and abiding commitment to love. It is, of course, a nuanced departure as she has been her own woman for many years - and has always been her own focused self. I guess what I mean is that as I join this ceremony of commitment and support, I sense something of Oliver's Trinity of life assignments within me all at the same time: there is a holding of our common history in love, a cherishing of the blessing she will always be, and an honoring of this new reality in time and space.  As a father, her marriage reminds me of another Oliver saying:

Instructions for living a life. 
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it.

My prayer for this day is simple and comes from Ms. Oliver, too.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument. 

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
So here's to schmoozing with the extended family - playing lawn games after the ceremony - and resting in the quiet grace of nature's beauty with these dear and gentle souls.


ddl said…
That really is a beautiful space. Happy wedding and blessings on the couple and family!
Phil Ewing said…
As usual I'm late to your posts so this was a wonderful surprise to read- so I am wishing you much joy and many blessings to you and all your family at this special time.

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