WOW! What a weekend....I'll give you a brief synopsis (WATCH THE VIDEO...it's worth it) and then I actually have some thoughts to share!
Ok...the low-down in 100 words or less:
Lisa (one of my best friends) got MARRIED this weekend! She and her (now) husband Jake had a lovely outdoor, woodsie, nature--go hug some trees wedding and reception. I was honored to have been asked to be the "Mistress of Ceremonies" for the wedding prayer service. It was really a nice experience searching for prayers/transitions and adding a little bit of my own thoughts to make this prayer service personal and wonderful for Jake and Lisa. It truly was lovely. I haven't enjoyed myself this much in a long time...I am so happy for them! Watch the video...see pictures...woo hoo! Need more of the nitty grittys to cure that insatiable curiosity that the VIDEO can't curb? Visit the wedding site of Jake and Lisa.
And now....my thoughts....(brace yourself)
So...my thoughts started on the car ride up to Medford, WI (5 hours away from Milwaukee). I was so grateful that my friend Shemagne agreed to be my travel buddy and "wedding date". I could tell that my brain was on hyperspeed overdrive; I don't think I was nervous, well maybe a little, but I think I just needed to wind down from my week at work and I knew I had to be "on" all weekend. Don't get me wrong...there's nothing I'd rather be "on" for than seeing someone I love commit themselves to someone they love! I digress....
So my friend Shemagne asked me something like, what do you think love is? (Or how do you know you're in love? you get the idea) At first I thought...ugh...I don't want to talk about this...now. So I said, "Let me think about it a minute." Now...I have spent some serious time thinking about this in my recent past. C'mon...I just made my vows a year ago...and I was thinking about this love stuff way before that!
I replied to Shemagne, "Well...I think the most profound love is deep within; the person challenges you to be the best version of yourself and you consider always what's best for the other." When I said that I thought, "Do I believe that?" So we pondered quietly for a few miles. My mind was racing again. What do you mean...do I believe that? DUH...of course I do.
Well...then I started thinking of the people that I love and care for very deeply. They do challenge me to continue being the best version of myself--and sometimes to be totally honest, that doesn't feel much like love--at least not right away. Sometimes these "challenges" to keep that becoming process moving, really challenge me to TRUST that these things are coming out of a space of love.
Obviously...a big part of LOVE is mutuality (that's a total nunland word) or reciprocal...so I thought...do I challenge the people I love deeply? For me too...this love stuff always circles back to trust. Man oh man...
So...Shemagne and I solved all the world's problems dealing with and defining love. Yeah right...but we did have a thoughtful conversation. Now...what does this have to do with the WEDDING? Well...I'm getting there...chill.
There are a few givens when I am out socially with non-nun folk, who don't know me. There's the introductions by the friend who does know you, "Oh...this is my friend Katy, she's a nun." Or maybe people have already heard the news. As people feel more comfortable and realize that indeed I am pretty normal (ha ha!)...then the questions start. And you know...I love this...I love that people are interested enough to ask me about my lifestyle choice and that I get to respond with some reality to try and avoid the stereotypes.
Almost ALWAYS someone asks me, "Wow...a nun. Um...how is that for you?" I smile and enthusiastically share that it's GREAT for me. We all have to find our niche...where we can be most ourselves (and now I've added where we can be challenged to keep growing...EW), for me, it's in religious life and I truly couldn't be happier.
NOW...at a wedding...where people tend to be all gushy anyway...people recalling the love between their partners and themselves. People who haven't made the plunge yet are considering it. People who haven't found their life long challenger are hopeful. People who have found true love are content...you get the picture.
In conversation, someone asked me, "So...is this hard for you? You know...um...being at a wedding?" (Yeah...I'm a little dense and replied, "No! I love dancing!" DUH KATY) so she clarified, "No...is it hard because you'll never be in love and have this? You know...like commit yourself totally to one person and know that they'll be there for you no matter what?"
Immediately I said (and my face matched), "NOOOOOOOOOO! This is GREAT...one of MY best friends just married a wonderful person. They compliment each other--a perfect fit. I have nothing but JOY for them." Then I explained my life choice and how it very much is connected to the same profound love, it's just expressed differently. And how much I am in love with what I have committed my life.
Well...I just couldn't shake that conversation and the impact it had on me...right in my gut and in my chest. I had this happen once before, when I was blessed to be present for Sydni's birth. My mom said, "Kate, now...after witnessing that [childbirth], do you ever wish you weren't a Sister?"
Let's see...I was gushy (well as gushy as I get) during this celebration...I was all tingly and happy. I was touched in a special way at thinking of Lisa committing her life to Jake. HER WHOLE LIFE. She was glowing, the joy was from the inside out and we were all there to witness and celebrate this.
I recalled my reception day and my vow day and immediately experienced that rush of joy and contentment that comes with when you commit yourself, your life to something/someone (which ever it may be) and there is no question whether this is the best way to give your love. Religious life, as in marriage, isn't about what you don't have. It's about where can you be your most authentic self, be at home, allow yourself to love and fall in love again and again, and yes...be challenged to be the best person you were created to become. WOW!
Yeah...I loved this wedding. I loved the opportunity to recall my commitment and choice in whom I've committed my life to. I could have possibly taken a pass at realizing that the people that challenge---and I'm not talking about whimpy challenges, people...I'm talking "make you squirm, want to run away, sometimes get mad at the challenger, no way Jose...and then you realized they're right (ooh I hate the you're right ones)..etc...like biggo's---do it because there is a deep love between you--Nah...this is a helpful insight for where I'm at right now.
My little thoughts on BIG things....like LOVE. I still know that my falling in love with my community is still emerging...and that's exciting. I also know that when I do experience these other "mega love fests" (I.e. weddings, babies being born, etc)...I experience much JOY for these people that I love committing themselves for LIFE .
I think my JOY or TINGLY HAPPYS...are experienced even more deeply because I know that I am deeply in love with what I have committed my life to.