i do love my ma and pa,
not the way that i do love you."
edward sharpe & the magnetic zeros
It all started with a ruby -- a Trevor Ruby. A son of gun, with a crooning smirk and doubly-dangerous dark eyes and dark hair; apparently a bit of a hand-full, a rascal. A boy who sure who some growing up to do, but was nonetheless smart, charming, interesting, and loveable. Years later, a few months before Toy Story hit the big screens, a second daughter was born in the deep, quiet country of Texas. She was, and still is, the baby of the family. A princess-loving, folktale-believing, sweet-gusto of all-stereotypical girl. While Young Ruby was somewhere else in the world, being refined and shined, little Allix was, well, being little. Playing, writing, reading, arithmetic, magic, grass fields, songs, and lipstick.
But she grew up, too. She didn't stay in her crib, or tiny shoes, or middle school. She made best friends, started business, worked in an office, saved money, booked clients, and watched her life garden begin to grow. Ever the romantic, her "somebody" was never far from her mind. Ever social, she loved making new friends through her longtime friends. Especially in a small sweet town like Bogata, it's refreshing to meet new faces and hear new voices and begin new friendships. So it was an obvious "yes!" when Allix was invited to come along with her very-best-friend Rachel to a conference a few states north. Isn't it wonderfully weird how one small "sure!" can change your life forever?
Because, well, as is perfectly obvious in the context of this writing, she met a somebody at that conference, and not too many months later that somebody gave her a family heirloom ruby, and became her only. Now, of course there is more to the story. Of course. The story about how and when and why he was scared and quickened into growing up. The story about how awfully bashful he and she were in person. The story about how when they began to talk and listen and ask. The story about moving states to be together, buying a house to live in after the wedding, the first date to a taco shop, the first Valentines in a tree house, about her grandmother marrying at 14 years old, about holding each other in a pick-up truck and praying in-between tears. Of course there is more to the story,
And that's the clear wonder of a wedding day. It's a stunning mark in the story, with hundreds leading up to it, and hundreds coming from it. It's a story in and of itself, but it's a passage way for the future and the past. It's a time where all those stories collide into one emotional, sincere, unforgettable date on a calendar. It's a "the end" and a "once upon a time" and "therefore" and "yet to come." It's where little women who have lived in the same house, in the same town, with the same people her whole life, put on some literal big-girl shoes and walk out the door into an brand new adulthood; where they hug their old life, their ma and pa, metaphorically good-bye and greet a new era of their existence.
Wildflowers -- not quite perfect but absolutely perfect, and dead trees surrounded by living ones, and blind-folds, and sunshine, and running to each other -- it's a nice summary of marriage.
More than any event or other emotion at this wedding, what most touched me was how loved Allix and Trevor are. I don't know if it's because I'm a mother now and I think about "Someday when my son gets married..." or if it's because I myself have had a wedding and begun a marriage ("Oh, I remember how much and yet heart-warming it was to see all the people in my world come together to bless us on August 9th, almost two years ago! Wow. How special.") or if it's because I sharply miss my own mama, but I'll never forget the community -- near and abroad -- that has stabilized the storm. We were made to love and be loved, to know and be known. The Ruby Wedding was quite a testament to the power and joy of being loved. I was one of very few hired vendors. Nearly all my questions where answered with "a friend," "so-and-so in the family," or "my mom." "Who is doing your hair?" "My friend!" "Who is doing the food?" "My aunt!" "Where are you getting the rentals?" "The church is letting us borrow them!" "Who is making the cake?" "My grandma!" Who is coordinating the day-of?" "My mom's friend!" "Who is making the decorations?" "My mom! And I! Together!"
[I rarely post formal family photographs, but I needed to for a few reasons today. First off, sometimes I get asked if I even take these pictures (the answer is: yes! absolutely.). Second, it's a brief encouragement to future brides to have your formals done in a well-lit area (not necessarily the front of the alter.) Lastly, and most importantly, I needed to find a way to sneak my baby boy into this post. He was personally asked to be a picture with the bride and groom. It's a big deal in his life, and I'm his mom so it's a big deal to me. (wink)]
Since my husband played his violin during the ceremony, we had to arrive early to the rehearsal to allow he and the rest of the musicians (friends! of course!) to practice. I'm so glad I was able to see the space before friends and family got their hands on it. We pulled up to a sweet, small, white country home. And that was it. They had a beautiful yard, but after a big rain storm the night before there were mud puddles and strewn wooden limbs, and victim leaves about the property. And no distinctly "wedding" anything. And yet, between 3:00 pm on Friday and 3:00 pm on Saturday, magic -- and elbow grease -- happened. At the handiwork of people who love, support, and celebrate Allix, this venue turned into a masterpiece; it went from "nice" to "marvelous." The kitchen was piping, the grounds were cheering, the music was singing, and the love was overwhelming. Down to the bunting -- the 550 yards of bunting - that wrapped this wedding in it's embrace. Allix's ma made it out of her old dresses, her mother's favorite napkins, her grandmother's best sheets (she remembers sleeping on them as a little girl.) As family members admired the scene, they started to recognize small triangles: "The Easter napkins!" "Oh, Darla's graduation dress!" "Mom's tablecloth!" Hearts were full, and the human connection was pouring over. There is no better way to begin a wedding ceremony.
Throughout the ceremony there were five hymns, drippy tears, a bold sermon, a small hook in wood that slightly tore her dress, and fascinatingly changing-light -- dark shadows with only spots of light, electric almost after-rain clouds, interrupting yellow, peaceful shade. Again, not to over cliche' a setting, but it made for a powerful introduction to marriage with a picture of all these elements at the same time, while surrounded by a great cloud of adoring lineage and witnesses. Happy, happy moment indeed!
I will, in particular, never forget the kindness of Rachel, the maid of honor who just so happened to be the one responsible for Allix and Trevor meeting. As soon as the wedding was finished she grabbed Allix, almost more excited than Allix herself, and waxed "Oh, that was the most natural thing in the world! I stood there and watched and thought 'Why, yes! Why, of course they are getting married.' I thought it might seem odd, but it wasn't! It was the most natural thing in the world! I'm so happy for you!" That vocal, soft, caring attitude was Rachel all day, all week, apparently all-friendship long. But Rachel couldn't hog Allix for too much time -- there were so many others who wanted to exclaim and squeeze for the exact same reasons... And most of all of them, were the brand-new Ruby's.
"Holey moley me-oh-my, you're the apple of my eye. Man oh man, you're my best friend."
They have a self-proclaimed Noah and Allie relationship -- drive each other up the wall ("Why are you being so annoying?!") and moments later they're snuggling and face-smooching. Can't get enough. He can't believe his best friend is such a princess-girly-girly-girly-girl. She knows he's slightly (more than slightly?) on the short-attention-span side of things. And she understands that brief increments of fast "get things done!" with frequent breaks in-between is the best route to take. While he's rather stoic, she found the dopey-playful piece in him. While she's rather dramatic, he found the steady piece in her. Let me go home, let me go ho-ho-home. To look into someone's eyes, and not just find them pretty or mesmerizing, but to find in them a steel-connection and knowledge of you, well, it's rare to come by. And worth keeping forever. As I've gotten to know these two, I've enjoyed hearing their descriptions of each other, and then seeing those words in real life. "Oh wow, yes, that is exactly what he is like. She knows him!" "Ha! Yes! Precisely! That's Allix for you." Spending most of the day together, most days, helps that natural knowledge, no doubt. But it is obvious that they have spent many hours talking about many things and those they have paid attention to the other person in the conversation. Home is wherever I'm with you.
Come! Let me go home! Home, home, home!
There is quite a wealth aside these two linked hands. Business knowledge, creativity, daring, thoughtfulness, life-experience, life-naivete, passion, motivation, home-based careers, shared hobbies, different hobbies, commitment to the Lord (and thinking through, debating, even, and discussing convictions, truth and ideas), laughter, quiet, and, now, it is all united together. In some ways these two remind me of my own parents. My dad came to the Lord in his twenties, after quite a "past," while my mom was a "church mouse" who eagerly obeyed from toddlerhood. They made quite a pair, and life was never boring. Between the two of them -- one well traveled and one more of a town-body, one very comfortable in front of large groups and one more shy, one extremely creative and one extremely entrepreneurial, one blunt and direct and one sweet and sweet -- their skills pantry was full. Together they had much to offer, together they could understand and identify with so many people, together they could collaborate and build with greatly complementary ideas, together they could help the other -- as they were so different, but such dear friends. I love imagining would could be with you, Allix and Trevor. What your paired visions, your paired hearts, your paired lives could do, and stand for, and create. Have so much fun. The best is yet to come! And may you only multiply the kindness your loved ones have for you, as you set out on your own adventure. While the digging may be hard, may the gems you find on your way be only brighter! better! and even more worth the effort. Thank you for having me, you two Rubies. It was a joy.