My friends Sheena and Mari got married on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean recently, and thanks to a cheap standby plane ticket from D.C. I got to witness it.
A few dozen members of given and chosen family came from as far away as Mississippi (home of Mari’s maternal family) to be the quirky collective officiate of queer-straight-white-people of color-young adult and elder humans that bore witness to this public declaration of Love..
They wrote their own vows. They chose rituals that symbolized the theme of Love and Light weaving together the African American tradition of jumping the broom with a Japanese Sake Ceremony and a group Metta (Lovingkindness) Meditation.
This was a September weekend – the Bay Area’s summer – where a small group of friends made and ate lots of food, soaked in the hotub, kayaked on the Russian River, made offerings to the Orishas, watched Noah’s Arc, danced, walked in the woods, caught up, and laughed, not necessarily in that order.
In big and small ways, the wedding weekend reminded me that (mostly) you really can do what you want with your life, which of course includes your wedding. I saw more proof that personal choices are very political and ultimately, help shift the uncool and often unquestioned strictures of Mainstream Culture.
A couple of years ago Sheena and Mari slipped a sheet of paper that said “Big Love” on my altar at a housewarming party where I had asked people to put good intentions for me and my new apartment in Oakland.
This wedding inspired me to believe in Big Love in a new way. It reminded me to keep questioning my assumptions, and to believe that anything is possible. (Yes, even in my somewhat dormant love life.). Anything is possible in Love and in Life, if only I make alive choices, keep moving forward, and stay open.
So this is the champagne toast I wanted to give at the reception but – being the introvert I am – didn’t then have the words for:
Congratulations Sheena and Mari! Wishing you all the best on your journey together. Thank you for being brave and beautiful and for being the change you want to see in the world. And don’t forget to Dance! A lot! (I know you won’t. :o)