This summer, I made the long journey to France (and it was one of those travel adventures that you only pray you’ll survive) to attend my friend Julie’s wedding. Julie was marrying Antoine. She married him in French. I didn’t understand one single word but I was dazzled the entire time by the joy of my friend and her love — never mind the craziness of being in Provence for their wedding.
It was quite the party. And this is the prompt offered by #Reverb10 today. It is a question about the social gathering that rocked my socks off this year. And if there was any such gathering, this was it. I couldn’t top it with one of my dinner parties. (Try as I might.) The food was delicious. The ambiance was incredible — from the small church that the bus couldn’t reach, to the cocktails in the garden, to the chateau converted to a fairy tale. And it was. It was a fairy tale that would make any young woman whoever dreamed about their wedding gush. And I did. I gushed. I took pictures of my friends gushing because it was the only way to truly convey the strange miraculous, wonder of this wedding that ended with girls jumping up and down dancing to Lady Gaga. (Yes, including me.) It was incredible and I tucked myself into bed that night in sheer exhausted glee.
Of course, weddings should be like this. Your friends and family should be lined up to offer toasts in celebration of your love and happiness. The food should taste incredible. The wine should be flowing. The romance should be palpable for everyone. Everyone should want what this couple has found. In American weddings, we capitalize on this sentiment. The garter is tossed. The bouquet is projected at a mob of single ladies that are brave (or desperate enough) to appear in the center of the floor. None of this happens when you’re in France. Thank God. When I find myself at friends’ weddings in the United States, as one of the few single girls left, I hide in the bathroom when this dreaded moment arrives.
While I was glad that this strange ritual was missing, the sadness that accompanies weddings still came. The twinge of loneliness arrived. I still find myself wondering when my friends and family would be lined up to say the same things about me. (And they will.) It’s something I wonder often as I celebrate the rituals of life in the church. It’s a feeling I know very well during Advent. It’s a feeling I know well today when my daily lection invited me to reflect on Abram’s descendants to be as abundant as the stars. It’s a powerful text that makes me look at the skies differently. I wonder if you can count the stars or if God really intends any of us to do so. In these words, I believe God wants us to dream. God invites us to imagine the possible. God hopes that we’ll entertain the most awesome promises our lives might achieve. Of course, those promises aren’t realized in one party. Instead, those promises are revealed in lots and lots of moments. Of course, this season causes us to focus on those moments. There’s an imbalance there because the moments that are popularized in the joy of family gatherings are not the moments that I hold most dear right now. In this season, I want those smaller moments so that I’m more and more aware of what it looks like for me to count the stars in heavens. I know it will come. And it will be my promise. But, it hasn’t come yet. I’m still waiting.