Last weekend I attended the wedding of a very devout young Catholic woman. I’d know her when she was a young girl – I actually dated her cousin for almost a year back in high school. But I second guessed whether or not I should go to that wedding. The reason being that I may not be able to wear the very sparkly boots I wanted to wear. I’m laughing aloud at the way i’ve written that but honestly this was the case.
I would be going as a plus one of my younger sister who was much closer friends with the bride, and when I told her what I wanted to wear she gave me a very judgmental look and told me that I can’t be that showy… It’s a christian wedding for god’s sake! I got very offended at this and then seriously wondered if I had missed something in the bible about not wearing sparkly clothing.
Regardless, I wore the boots and all was fine. I am writing on this topic because I am very glad that I did decide to attend that wedding. It was very religious, and the bride and groom were low key attempting to convert any non-devout attendees as well but there was something otherwise extraordinary about the whole event. It was soulful. The bride and groom were clearly so in love with both each other and with their god that I don’t think there was a doubt in anybody’s mind that their marriage would last forever, despite their being married so young (just 22).
At the end of the reception the bride and groom sung a blessing to their attendees. The bride walked around the room gesturing beautifully with her hands as she went – sometimes her eyes were closed as if in a peaceful trance and in other moments she looked sincerely at those she was singing to. There was real palpable power in her words, her movements, and her emotions – her vulnerability.
Many of the attendees were in tears after that song. Alternately, a few were horrified. The display of such raw emotion had made some of them cringe. Hard. And I imagine they didn’t stop cringing until they arrived safely home where they could lock any emotions that may have begun surfacing safely back in the closet where they liked them.
And me? I was in a puddle of tears, but I was also left feeling a little jealous. The last time I really spent any time with this woman she was a child – and now she somehow had the amazing capability to ooze sincerity and goodwill, singing passionately in front of an audience of people at her wedding and do it so gracefully, so unabashedly, without bursting into tears herself.
When I attempt this level of emotional vulnerability I inevitably wind up crying so much that it detracts from the massage or just draws out concern. But I often wonder what it would mean to commit to complete emotional sincerity and vulnerability in all my interactions. I am no small feeler, and big feels mean big scenes and gestures if you are going to commit to honoring them all in that way…