Do you smile when you dance?

We were inside the fishbowl, a glassed in patio, looking out at the passers by who stared in as they strolled past.  It was a warm fall evening, one of those gifts we get in Alberta just before the bone numbing cold of winter takes our breath away.  As the cars cruised up to the stop sign at the northeast corner of the fishbowl, occupants rolled down their windows and spun their heads to see whether there were famous people at the party.  I wondered what stories or assumptions they arrived at about the scene they had passed by.

There was no doubt it was a party.  The party fish turned out in their finery were visiting with one another in unusually animated fashion.  You didn't need to be terribly observant to realize it was beyond the normal cocktail interactions of the air kiss and polite inquiries about work and family.  Those who delayed passing the fishbowl long enough would have noticed a bride resplendent in her perfect dress and a joyful groom who vacillated between tears and laughter.  There was a brand new six-week old beautiful person and eighty-year old beautiful people in the crowd.  If you were an astute passerby who peered through the open restaurant door you would have seen people dancing.  Should you have passed by at exactly the right time you would have seen me dancing amongst the beautiful people with a smile on my face.

All evening as the outside world looked in I kept sneaking a peak at the passers by and I smiled, keenly aware that we were privileged beyond belief and that the people around me were truly beautiful.  That sense of privilege and beauty began in the church when the groom walked his mum down the aisle and then buried his face in her shoulder and wept.  I knew we were seeing a man who truly loved his mother and that was a good omen for how he would love his wife.  But just in case we were worried about him being too attached to his mum, he took his place at the altar, collected himself and waited for his bride to appear.  When she came into the sanctuary he wept again which caused her to burst into laughter.  It was the kind of laughter that was charged with emotion, excitement, and love.  You could feel the guests holding their breathe wondering if it was going to turn to hysterical laughter or sobbing tears.  And so began the wedding celebrations of our niece who is beautiful in appearance and spirit.

Four generations of family and a sprinkling of friends celebrated love and faithfulness yesterday.  While those looking in on us saw designer clothes, bargain finds, young, old, skinny, and not so skinny, I saw us as the beautiful people.  Not without pain or brokenness but willing to set aside our own stuff for one another.  The preacher had encouraged the couple in the ceremony to  give themselves up for one another, and it made me squeeze a little closer to the man who has given himself up for me for over thirty-four years.  The preacher exhorted - yes they do that.  He exhorted the couple to "let love and faithfulness never leave you" and tears snuck out of my eyes as I thought of the times in our home when we had to actively choose love and faithfulness because we weren't feeling it.  And I was grateful we had family and friends around us during those times that encouraged and exhorted us to choose love and faithfulness.

Those people, those family and friends, were the beautiful people last night.  They were the ones we have laughed, cried, mourned, and celebrated with.  They have been the community that has held us up when we couldn't hold ourselves up.  They have been hardest on us but also quickest to forgive us.  They have encouraged us to be our best selves and our most beautiful selves, and they have given me cause to smile when I dance.

As a postscript, the sunrise smiled on us this morning and I took several times pictures so you could enjoy something beautiful too!

September 19, 2015 at 7:13

September 19, 2015 at 7:18

September 19, at 7:24