The pastor, presiding over the wedding ceremony, is distracted. “Did the air conditioning just go off? Is our timer broken?” “I hope the microphone batteries are ok; there’s no one back in the sound board today to check them.” She wants the ceremony to go smoothly, seamlessly — to be as flawless as the bride’s dress. This couple standing in front of her deserves a perfect wedding day.
And then the groom’s mother speaks. She doesn’t read a poem, a passage from the Bible, or a reading she found on the internet. She speaks from her heart, without notes. She looks directly into the eyes of her son and his soon-to-be wife. “This day my life is fulfilled,” she says. She speaks to him about what love and marriage mean to her. She tells him her deepest desires for his life.
I am watching his eyes fill with tears. And I am watching the bride watch him. Her expertly-mascaraed eyelashes flutter; she hands him a handkerchief. This moment is not about the flowers or the dress, the invitations or the party to come. This is one of those transcendent moments in life. Something very real is being spoken and heard and experienced. There is vulnerability. Truth is being expressed. I am almost embarrassed to be so close; it is that intimate. Yet I am also privileged to be so close.
The air conditioning settings and the microphone batteries still matter. It is my job to pay attention to them, so that these moments can occur. All of the planning, the preparation, the details, the behind-the-scenes work…all that seems sometimes petty and trivial: but it is all at the service of moments like these.